Paul Millsap has just opted out of his contract with the Atlanta Hawks. Millsap was expected to opt out of his contract, and he will become a free agent this summer. Millsap comes off of another All-Star season averaging 18.1 points on 44/31/77 percent shooting, along with 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Millsap has been the best player for the Hawks, being their go to scorer in tough situations, along with being one of the best defensive pieces that the Hawks have. There were rumors at the trade deadline that Millsap would be traded after Kyle Korver was sent to the Cavaliers, however, a seven-game winning streak changed the course of the trade rumors. Millsap is likely to be one of the best forwards on the market this free agency given his defensive versatility and ability to play as a stretch 4. Various teams like the Houston Rockets will likely offer him a hefty sum of money in order to make a championship run. If the Hawks wish to resign Millsap, they will likely be paying him at or near a max contract.
Millsap is currently 32 years old, and while he will be worth that contract for one or even two years, there is uncertainty in paying an aging forward a four or even five year deal for the maximum. If the Hawks do decide to pay him, they will almost certainly have to let some of their other free agents go, and their salary cap would not allow them to sign any other big name free agents. Resigning Millsap would mean that the Hawks are committing to a core group that will be either as good or likely worse than the team this previous season. The ceiling for the current team is a second round exit, and they almost certainly do not possess the talent to defeat the Cavaliers in a playoff series (although it seems that no team in the East currently does either). Letting Millsap walk would mean that the Hawks made an error in judgment in not trading Millsap earlier this season and that he will be lost for nothing but cap space in return. Millsap’s loss will also make it immensely more difficult for the Hawks to make another playoff bid in the 2017-2018 season, and the Hawks will probably end up in the draft lottery as opposed to continuing their 10-year playoff streak. Millsaps free agency comes in the midst of the Hawks search for a new GM. The front office must now decide on whether to continue to be a middling playoff team or to start the process of rebuilding the Hawks around its young core of Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince.
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