OK, now we can stop talking about a Paul Millsap trade. Millsap told ESPN on Tuesday that the team informed him that he will not be traded. From ESPN:
"Now everybody can stop talking about it," Millsap said after the Hawks' shootaround in Basketball City before playing the Nets. "I can stop thinking about it and just focus on basketball."
Asked if staying in Atlanta for the rest of the season is the outcome he wanted, Millsap said: "Oh yeah, absolutely. For me and my team, for us to really do something, I think that all the rumors (have) got to stop. I think we are at a good place right now during the season and our main focus is basketball and winning and winning big."
So the Hawks went from, at the end of last season, having one of the best teams in the East, to trying to get Al Horford back in free agency, and fielding trade offers for Millsap in pursuit of keeping Horford, to keeping Millsap and losing Horford, to adding Dwight Howard, to fielding offers for Millsap again, to now not being open to trading Millsap at all.
Oh, and they traded their veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver to the Cavaliers, who the Hawks have been swept by twice in the past two years.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Millsap will be a 32-year-old unrestricted free agent this summer, set to make big money. If the Hawks want to get younger, not trading him makes very little sense. But on the other hand, this team peaked in the last month of the season last year, beat a good Boston team, and if they somehow manage to avoid Cleveland until the Eastern Conference finals, they have the coaching, system and firepower to make it that far.
Then they'll get swept by Cleveland while Korver hits a bunch of 3-pointers. But hey, maybe adding Dwight Howard as a reliable rebounder changes the dynamics of the series. Who knows? But Atlanta is basically saying they've got good value for a 35-year-old Korver on an expiring contract, and they're not ready for a full rebuild. It takes one of the best trade chips off the board, but if a team tells a player they're not going to deal him, it would take a game-changer offer to get them to go back on that assurance.