The Atlanta Hawks are no longer shopping veteran forward Paul Millsap after weeks of speculation surrounding the All-Star's future, per fresh reports.
Since Millsap is a free agent this summer, it was understood that Hawks would trade him ahead of the Feb. deadline and push the reset button next season with a chest of draft picks and young players. However, The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that president Mike Budenholzer wishes to hold onto Millsap.
"Atlanta general manager Wes Wilcox started informing teams Monday afternoon that the Hawks were no longer working to unload Millsap, sources said. Millsap can be a free agent this summer, and multiple teams – including Denver, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers – had an interest in making a deal for him, sources said," the report noted, before adding that Millsap "is no longer on the trade market".
Toronto Raptors, the number two seed in the East, were strongly linked with Millsap in recent weeks. Several analysts expected the Raptors to go all-in for Millsap, a deal that would have likely closed the gap with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It's important to note that Hawks lacked leverage over the potential trade deal since Millsap is expected to opt out of his Player Option in July and pursue the big bucks in free agency.
Paul Millsap Trade: Atlanta Hawks unhappy with "underwhelming offers"
This past weekend, ESPN's Mark Stein reported that the Hawks were looking for nothing more than a "high first round draft pick" in exchange for Millsap simply because teams weren't willing to part with valuable assets for an expiring contract. Also, since Millsap turns 32 next month, many general managers were of the opinion that the All-Star forward wasn't worth giving up players that could blossom in a few years.
The Vertical added in its report that the Atlanta front office wasn't pleased with the offers it received for Millsap. "The commitment to trade for Millsap, 31, would be significant for teams because of the assets it would take to acquire him and the likely US$30 million-plus annual salary (AU$40.8 million) needed to re-sign him in summer free agency. If the Hawks had overwhelming offers for Millsap, they may not have hesitated on pulling him from the market."
The report also added that the Hawks haven't ruled out the possibility of making Millsap available once again closer to the Feb. 23 trade deadline. "Nevertheless, the Hawks could change course with several weeks left before the Feb. 23 trade deadline and return Millsap to the marketplace. For now, the Hawks – 21-16 and fourth in the East – are turning back toward competing in the conference."
Paul Millsap, a defensive ace and All-NBA talent, is averaging a tally of 17.7 points and 8.9 rebounds this season.