Paul Millsap has rejected a contract extension offer from the Utah Jazz. In a time where everyone wants to be a free agent and courted by all the other NBA teams, it is not really unexpected, but it does put the Utah Jazz and also Millsap himself in a very precarious position.
There is no doubting that the Jazz have to do something. They have a very sub-par back court and are so stacked up front they can’t find time for everyone – at some point something had to give. It looks like Millsap is it – or is he?Paul Millsap is a talent with great size, hustle, footwork and willingness to play night in and night out. He is a competitor and I would dare say the Jazz would love to keep him (hence the contract extension) but since he has turned them down, does this mean ‘Sap want’s out? Not necessarily.
I think that Millsap is just testing the waters. The Jazz will likely move one of their front court studs to find more time for the younger and developing Favors and Kanter, but I, along with everyone else, figured that would be Al Jefferson. Al being a little older and plays a bit more back to the basket, fundamental basketball and with a youthful rebuild, this doesn’t seem to fit as well as Millsap’s outside high energy hustle game would. Plus Al has mentioned that he wouldn’t mind heading back to Boston where he played before being traded to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett.
The above could still happen – now bear with me while I throw something out there for you to chew on.
Al Jefferson is open to a trade, the Jazz don’t need him and this would open up the frontcourt a little more. So, perhaps Millsap is just not signing the extension and forcing Utah’s hand into making a move before the trade deadline. Perhaps he is playing chicken with them and saying “I won’t sign until I am assured some time”. A fair enough standpoint to be honest – why commit to a team where your options as a player are limited – why not test the waters, grab a decent payday with a team that needs some frontcourt help (and there are a lot of them)? I mean what is the worst that can happen? They keep everyone, he leaves so what. Good plan ‘Sap.
Now – from Utah’s point of view, this is quite a distressing situation. They realise they can’t win with the team the way it is, so they need to clear that frontcourt. Do they trade Al hoping that this appeases Millsap and he then re-signs with the team and they move forward? Or do they trade Millsap under the impression that he is not going to sign the extension and they don’t want to lose him for nothing? Tough call.
With the recent acquisition of Favors and Enes Kanter, the Utah franchise must have known this situation would occur at some stage. I wonder if they have a plan for it? Personally, I think they should ditch both Jefferson and Millsap now while their value is high. Try and get some nice backcourt pieces and potentially some depth and / or draft picks. The West is super stacked for now, and they won’t be contenders any time soon, but this represents a real chance to move away from the old and into the new. I guess it all depends on just how gutsy the front office really is.
(via Mark Bruty – Hoops-Nation.com)
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