Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap will be opting out of the final year of his contract to become a free-agent this summer. Millsap, who averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game during the 2016-17 season, is expected to draw interest from multiple teams - including the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Millsap told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of his decision to opt out, giving him a shot at probably his last significant paycheck of his NBA career. By opting out, Millsap will be leaving $21.5MM on the table.
According to league sources, the Hawks did try to trade Millsap in exchange for assets and young players, but eventually kept him the entire season along with the risk of losing him for nothing.
Talent-starved and cap-rich squad like the Heat and the Sixers are expected to be the teams pursuing Millsap this offseason. Miami general manager Pat Riley has been targeting the All-Star forward for quite some time because of his ability to score and stretch the floor with his outside shooting. The Sixers could also benefit from having Millsap alongside Joel Embiid, who will get more room to operate inside the shaded lane.
The Bulls, if they resolve contractual problems with Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade, are another squad that could make a pitch for the All-Star. Head coach Fred Hoiberg really likes big men with outside shooting because they fit well in his up-tempo system.
But despite the multitude of suitors he will be getting this offseason, Millsap stressed that the Hawks remain his no.1 choice heading into free-agency.
Eventually I probably will opt out, yes," Millsap told Vivlamore. "But I want to be here. I think talks have been pretty good, so we'll see what happens."
Based on the current market, Millsap is projected to receive a multi-year contract that pays no less than $25MM, which is in the same ballpark as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will be getting this summer.