Paul Millsap might be saying publicly that he wants to stay with the Atlanta Hawks, but it doesn't exactly sound like he has firm footing there. In light of the report that the Hawks are taking calls about Millsap, who can be a free agent this coming summer, ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on the TrueHoop podcast that they came close to trading him to the Denver Nuggets before last year's trade deadline and the Toronto Raptors in the offseason (about 15 minutes in):
This has happened twice in the last year. They almost traded him to Denver at the trade deadline last year and then they also had a trade lined up for Jeff Teague and then ultimately decided not to do either trade and ended up in the second round against the Cavs, where they got swept. Then over the summer, after they did trade Jeff Teague and signed Dwight Howard, they were all set to trade Millsap if Al Horford had re-signed. They were going to trade him to Toronto. And then that deal fell through when Horford went to Boston.
This isn't coming out of nowhere. Last February, ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst reported that the Hawks were considering blowing the team up. Before Horford signed with the Boston Celtics, The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Atlanta was "shopping" Millsap in order to make room for a potential Howard-Horford frontcourt. ESPN's Zach Lowe reported in July that the Nuggets "had the Hawks biting on a package of picks and players, including Kenneth Faried." The Raptors, meanwhile, have been linked to Millsap for what feels like forever, and general manager Masai Ujiri has publicly acknowledged that he'd like an upgrade at power forward.
Should Atlanta move Millsap before the trade deadline this time, both Denver and Toronto still seem like realistic destinations. The Nuggets still have all sorts of cap room to re-sign him and a nice mix of veterans and young players to send the Hawks' way. The Raptors still have intriguing trade pieces and, with the best roster in franchise history, a reason to go all-in and try to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers. If Millsap is indeed available, the key questions are how many other teams will be in the mix and where he'd be willing to re-sign.