The NBA Playoffs may still be raging, but the Los Angeles Lakers are now hard at work preparing for next season. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are plotting and planning for a big summer that will see the Lakers attempt to add pieces that will help jump start their rebuild, and it now appears that Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap will indeed be on the market.
Millsap, a four-time All-Star, has one year remaining on his contract that would pay him over $21 million, but he has a player option that would allow him to forego the remaining year and become a free agent instead. According to a recent report by ESPN, Millsap is likely to head to free agency with the goal of getting a long-term contract this summer.
Paul Millsap confirmed on Saturday that he “probably will opt out” of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent, leaving the Atlanta Hawks to plot their future following a painful first-round exit from the playoffs.
Given the rapid rise of salaries in the NBA, it’s no surprise that Millsap will opt out. At 32 years old he will be searching for one last big contract while he’s still in his prime. The Atlanta Hawks would like to bring him back, and Millsap himself has said that he wants to remain in Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean that other teams won’t try to swoop in and steal him when free agency begins on July 1st.
During the season, the Hawks were rumored to be exploring trading Millsap, and the Lakers were one of the teams interested in acquiring him, but that was before Johnson and Pelinka took over. Millsap and the Lakers would appear to be a poor fit, as his age doesn’t match up with the young team’s core and Los Angeles already has Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Luol Deng ready to handle minutes at power forward.
Still, should Johnson make a big move and land a win-now piece, like say Indiana’s Paul George, then Millsap could again become a target for the Lakers to pursue.