Before the Hawks’ incredible overtime victory on Sunday evening, news broke out that alarmed many Atlanta Hawks fans:
Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap to opt out at end of season to become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told ESPN.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 1, 2017
The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore denied such a report. He claims that Paul has not made a decision public. While this may be the case, it is likely he opts out of his deal and seeks a max deal this summer during free agency. This is simply a smart business decision for Millsap, who likely has one more shot at a big NBA contract.
Vivlamore also made it known that the Hawks have in fact listened to offers for Millsap, Thabo Sefolosha and Kyle Korver. He also added that Tiago Splitter and Kris Humphries could be candidates to be moved as well, as all five players are in the last year of their respective contracts with the team.
This is no reason for Hawks fans to freak out. This is the team simply doing its due diligence.
We saw the Hawks’ willingness to keep the band together last season with Al Horford hitting free agency. The question is whether they will follow the same route with Millsap. The only way you move Millsap and it is a win for the team is if the Hawks can get long-term assets and are sure his departure is imminent. Otherwise, a three-year max deal this summer for Millsap sounds reasonable for a Hawks team that is not only building momentum, but also are only a piece or two away from being a serious threat to the Cavs, with the presence of Dwight Howard on the boards and the emergence of Dennis Schroder.
The future for the Hawks is brighter than many think, and the only reason things may not work out between Millsap and the Hawks is if it comes down to age and years, which it very may well. However, as far as this season is concerned, the Hawks and Mike Budenholzer will focus on winning, and Paul Millsap is a huge part of that equation. The Hawks did not sign Dwight Howard and throw big money at Kent Bazemore to rebuild. They did it to go all in on being competitive this season.
Hawks fans should read these “rumors” with a grain of salt.