5 Tantalizing Landing Spots for Paul Millsap in Free Agency

While many players his age either struggle to remain in the league or are pigeon-holed into the role of “locker room guy”, Paul proved himself to be an instrumental piece for the burgeoning Denver Nuggets this season.  

 

After a near Cinderella -like run with the Denver Nuggets in the NBA’s Orlando bubble this year, NBA veteran and under-sized big man Paul Millsap is a free agent. The soon to be 36 year old, while obviously in the twilight of his career, has proven that he still has enough gas in the tank to meaningfully contribute to a franchise. With per 36 minute averages of 17.2 PPG, 8.5 RBG and 2.4 APG on a True Shooting percentage of 59.1%, his game is aging like a well-stored Cabernet.

Though he more closely resembles the old-school low post bruisers of old rather than the fleet-footed switch-able wings of the modern NBA, Millsap is deceptively versatile with the ability to capably guard multiple positions, and coming off a career year shooting from beyond-the-arc.

While many players his age either struggle to remain in the league or are pigeon-holed into the role of “locker room guy”, Paul proved himself to be an instrumental piece for the burgeoning Denver Nuggets this season.

That being said, he will be another year older next season and coming off of a 3yr/$90 million dollar deal, it is pretty clear that Millsap will be expected to take a step back both in terms of role and financial compensation. Mitigating factors aside, Millsap will clearly be a tantalizing option for any team that thinks they have a reasonable shot at contention.

Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are currently sitting on an embarrassment of riches. With the 2nd pick in the upcoming draft, the deadliest shooting backcourt in NBA history, a talented wing in Andrew Wiggins and defensive genius Draymond Green– the Warriors are definitely not desperate.

Considering how close Millsap came to getting to the NBA Finals, he may be eager to maximize his odds of winning it all. As a competent force in the paint and an above average 3-point shooter, Paul would be an appropriate buoy to the Warriors’ second unit, while allowing them to play the small ball they have become known for.

Though it is unclear how much the market will value Millsap’s services, the Warriors do have a trade exception they can utilize, and Paul Millsap may be worth that move for the franchise that is eager to prove they’re still a stop team.

With plenty of firepower already in tow, the Warriors and Millsap would be a perfect marriage, allowing Paul to contribute as needed without the excess mileage.

Utah Jazz

Way back in the yesteryear of NBA times, the Utah Jazz utilized their 47th overall pick (2nd rnd, pick 17), to draft the Louisiana Tech big man, and a reunion is not out of the question. Millsap played seven productive seasons in Utah and can still be a valuable addition to a team that is not expected to make any major moves in the offseason.

The Utah Jazz has limited cap room and will unquestionably have some decisions to make for this move to be viable. While still likely capable of producing at a starter level with starter level-minutes, it is likely not the most ideal role for the aging power forward. The lack of depth at his position in Utah may prove to be a grind for Millsap during the long NBA season, particularly into the playoffs.

Barring a strong desire to remain in Denver for the remainder of his career, the Utah Jazz remains a realistic choice for Louisiana native, even if it isn’t the most ideal fit on paper.

Miami Heat

Consensus lies with the Miami Heat as either the team that over-achieved the most in the playoffs this year, or was the biggest surprise, depending on which framework you subscribe to. With a core of talented players, of which no singular player is mostly responsible for, the democratic nature of the Miami Heat offense could prove a sensational situation for Millsap.

Millsap’s skills are such that he can be plugged into almost any system and not be an impediment. Rather than worrying about adjusting to a player that needs the ball constantly to be effective, the Heat can drag and drop Millsap’s ever evolving game into their adaptable offense.

With his experience and veteran savvy, Millsap can effectively take over the role of locker-room guy from Udonis Haslem, except do so while still actually being able to play.

Milwaukee Bucks

Though probably an eyebrow-raising choice at first glance, the Bucks and Millsap will make a fascinating pairing for several reasons. Most obvious is the existing familiarity he has with Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer from his time with the Atlanta Hawks.

Additionally, with superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo approaching free agency himself, the Bucks are not necessarily in a win now situation but need to prove that they are taking their superstar’s prime seriously by providing him with capable complementary pieces.

External factors prevent this from being the most likely landing spot. With limited cap room, the Bucks would certainly have to get creative to land Millsap. Logistics aside however, Millsap’s age and experience would prove to be valuable assets to a Milwaukee team who seems to be frustratingly close to maximizing their full potential as a team.

Boston Celtics

Noticing a trend here? The Boston Celtics are another top notch team that is missing potentially just one or two ingredients to get over the hump. While Paul Millsap is not the type of player that can single-handedly decide the fate of a team, the right acquisition at the right time can always make the difference.

Millsap provides both the veteran leadership and winning pedigree that a young and upcoming team like the Celtics need. With a clear pecking order minus the egos, the Celtics is likely a premier destination for any veteran looking to end their career on a high note.

Brad Stevens is known for maximizing the talent of his roster, and a shrewd, switchable big man is exactly the kind of complementary piece that Stevens can efficiently work into the Celtics scheme.

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