According to ESPN, the Atlanta Hawks have begun “listening” to trade offers for their All-Star forward, Paul Millsap. With Millsap having the choice to opt out of his contract with the Hawks this summer, Atlanta finds themselves in a sticky situation. They could elect to keep him and offer him a max deal. But if he turns it down and signs with another team in the offseason, they get nothing in return. If they trade the star now, they could get some valuable pieces.
This season has been supremely disappointing for the franchise, and they now seem stuck at mediocrity. It’s becoming more and more obvious that Atlanta needs a serious shake up.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Atlanta wants "at least one quality first to headline a Millsap deal."
Here are the top three destinations that Paul Millsap might be playing for if the Hawks decide to trade him:
A Horford-Millsap reunion would be pretty sweet to watch. For the Celtics, it might mean giving up guys like Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown, and/or a first round draft pick. While it seems like a lot, Boston has enough draft picks to last a lifetime and still has tons of young potential waiting for the right opportunity.
For Atlanta, getting Jaylen Brown wold be huge. It would give them a young guy to build around, and set the pace for what they want their season to be. Amir Johnson would be a nice compliment to Dwight on the inside and is a proven locker room leader. It would take some hard thinking by Boston and Atlanta, but the potential is there if they see eye-to-eye.
In order to bring Paul to Charlotte, the Hornets would have to give up some key pieces. A Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marco Bellinelli package would work both financially and strategically. It would keep Kemba and Batum in town while bringing in a proven veteran All-Star to add with them. Charlotte would surely be one step closer to an Eastern Conference crown.
With MKG and Marco on the Hawks, it’ll provide Kidd-Gilchrist the room he needs to develop, and give Atlanta some much-needed firepower on the defensive end. Belinelli's shooting would also help make up for the underwhelming performance of Kyle Korver. If they can somehow pull this off, it would shake up the Eastern Conference standings big time.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers seem to have taken a step back this season. Adding Paul Millsap would absolutely help them make it to the postseason. An Evan Turner, Festus Ezeli for Millsap trade would probably work out for both sides. Portland would get some depth in the front court with a strong veteran presence. That Lillard-McCollum-Millsap trio would be able to tango with any team in the league. The Hawks would undoubtedly be the losers here, but they’d still benefit. Evan Turner has regressed lately from his days in Philly, but a fresh team could restore him. Ezeli would add a quality backup for Dwight, and add some athleticism. No doubt, this would be a weird trade, but it could work.
Those are three scenarios Paul Millsap could end up in before this year's trade deadline. And while it’s still unproven that Millsap wants out of Atlanta, it’s definitely not out of the question to see him in another jersey before the season comes to a close.