Atlanta Hawks, NBA Free Agency

5 potential destinations for Paul Millsap

Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap will opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. Here are five teams that could work for him.

In four years with the Atlanta Hawks, power forward Paul Millsap has transformed his game from being an underrated big man with the Utah Jazz to one of the best fours in the game. Millsap has made four straight All-Star games as undeniably Atlanta’s best player.

While his 3-point shot comes and goes, Millsap is elite in isolation post-ups, dominant on the glass and a menace defensively. Millsap averaged 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the 2016-17 Hawks. At 32-years old, Millsap has a few more years before he exits his prime.

For that reason, he will opt out of the final year of his contract with Atlanta to become an unrestricted free agent. Though his best four years of ball have come with the Hawks, Millsap should test the free agent market for presumably one last big deal.

He did opt out of his Atlanta deal two summers ago only to wisely re-sign with the Hawks for more money. Millsap could do the same thing, but here are the five best fits for him in his unrestricted free agency this summer.

Apr 7, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) shoots over Toronto Raptors center Lucas Nogueira (92) during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Raptors 95-87. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


Toronto Raptors

East, Atlantic

All last season, the Toronto Raptors were the team that Millsap was linked with in trade rumors. Toronto was horrible at power forward for most of the season. For a team that had series Eastern Conference Finals aspirations, that position was a major red flag for their playoff push.

However, Toronto did trade for a power forward before the trade deadline; it just didn’t end up being Millsap. Toronto traded for Serge Ibaka on the final year of his contract with the Orlando Magic. There is a great chance that Ibaka will end up re-signing with the Raptors, but Millsap is the better player of the two. No doubt Toronto would choose to sign Millsap over Ibaka, all things equal.

Millsap has a good friend in Toronto in his former teammate with the Jazz and Hawks in small forward DeMarre Carroll. Toronto hasn’t been as good to Carroll as he had hoped, but a big three of Millsap, point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan would absolutely make the Raptors a contending team in the Eastern Conference.

In theory, Millsap is one of a few players in the Eastern Conference that could pass as a LeBron James stopper. Frankly, Millsap doesn’t have the lateral quickness to keep up with James, but has the perfect combination of finesse and muscle to honestly challenge James.

Millsap to the Raptors would be an incredible signing for Toronto. However, they could keep Ibaka for cheaper and get more prime years out of him than Millsap. Though he is the better player, Ibaka offers more bang for the buck for Toronto. Since the Raptors already have to pay top dollar to keep Lowry around in his unrestricted free agency, Toronto is a good, but not likely landing spot for Millsap.

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