If it wasn’t abundantly clear already, Paul Millsap is not going anywhere. Atlanta Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox told The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski that, not only is the All-Star forward definitely not going to be traded before Thursday’s deadline, Millsap will be the front office’s top priority when it comes to free agency this summer. In January, Atlanta explored the possibility of trading him, but decided against it after testing the market.
“Paul Millsap is not going to be traded, and Paul Millsap is absolutely our priority this offseason, in re-signing him with the Atlanta Hawks,” Wilcox said. “We’ve communicated that to Paul, his team, and we feel great about our position there. We also don’t want to hide from the fact that, yeah, we took a long, hard look at it earlier in the season, during a period of time where our team was struggling, and ultimately decided that Paul is far too valuable to us. And through that period of time and that excerise, we made that decision to absolutely keep Paul. and he is certainly our priority.”
It is rare that executives are as definitive as this, but Atlanta is apparently all-in. The organization, and Millsap . Now, Wilcox sure sounds optimistic that he will re-sign.
The obvious risk here is that Millsap could walk in the summer, and nobody knows this better than the Hawks -- Al Horford said he believed in his heart that Atlanta was a special place just before leaving in free agency last summer. Having that happen again would be a disaster.
Wilcox said that the Hawks are buyers right now. That makes sense -- they’re half a game behind the Toronto Raptors for fourth in the Eastern Conference, and they’d like to have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. If they can do that and win a round or two, maybe negotiations with Millsap will be quick and easy in the offseason. If their postseason run ends in disappointment, though, then Millsap might have a tougher decision to make.