Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio stirred up the Millsap trade rumors recently by mentioning three potential teams that could be interested in acquiring Paul Millsap for the rest of the season.
The three teams mentioned are the Milwaukee Bucks, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Denver Nuggets.
Here’s the breakdown on the three possibilities.
Millsap to Milwaukee
What does Milwaukee have to gain by acquiring Millsap? They are a borderline playoff team in the Eastern Conference, and recently dismissed their head coach. (An example of the talent disparity between East and West? The Bucks are 5.5 games behind Miami for the first seed at seventh in the conference, while Utah, who is at the same spot in the West, is 10 games behind Oklahoma City.)
The Bucks have multiple young power forwards on their roster – John Henson, Ekpe Udoh, and THE Larry Sanders – as well as Samuel Dalembert and Drew Gooden taking up minutes in the frontcourt. While the Bucks could offer a nice package of Mike Dunleavy plus one of the following – Henson, Udoh, Sanders, Tobias Harris, Luc Mbah a Moute – what do the Bucks gain? They would have an advantage in free agency with Millsap, but they do not solve their main problem of finding a real star at power forward. If the Bucks move one of their young forwards – who are on cheap contracts – for Millsap, that means they’ve given up on seeing that forward develop with a Bucks uniform on.
What would the Jazz gain? Milwaukee will likely contend for a low seed in the playoffs, meaning the Jazz would not receive a lottery pick in the upcoming draft. How does a 2014 second round pick sound? While the Jazz have done well finding talent in the second round, they would likely want a first-round pick back for Millsap – even if it isn’t a lottery pick. The 2013 draft has a high number of talented forwards, and the 2014 draft class has a lot of talent, but picks in the tail end of the first round tend to work best for role players, not franchise cornerstones.
Acquiring Dunleavy for the remainder of the season would help the Jazz revolution on the perimeter. While Hayward has improved in recent games, playing a lineup with Jamaal Tinsley, Hayward, Dunleavy, Udoh and Kanter would be a quality second unit. Dunleavy and Hayward can shoot, Tinsley can distribute the ball, and Kanter and Udoh can defend a variety of low-post players while securing rebounds. Dunleavy would compete with DeMarre Carroll for playing time, and Carroll has had a positive contribution to the team in the minutes he has received.
The Call – not the best option on the table for the Jazz.
Millsap to Brooklyn
What does Brooklyn gain from acquiring Millsap? Millsap did play with Nets point guard Deron Williams in Utah, and his presence would mean that the Nets wouldn’t have to start Gerald Wallace at the four anymore. Brooklyn would benefit in multiple ways – more low-post scoring alongside Brook Lopez, and the ability to have a cap-friendly player on the roster. The Nets are just 2.5 games behind the Heat, and have been playing well after they fired their head coach Avery Johnson.
What the Nets don’t have are assets. They can’t trade their 2013 first round pick, and the next two years Atlanta has the ability to swap picks with Brooklyn. Does Kris Humphries sound appealing to the Jazz front office at two years, $12 million per? I don’t see any situation where Humphries earns playing time over Kanter or Favors, so the Jazz would be paying Humphries a lot of money to play 10-15 minutes per game.
That’s not the Jazz way.
The Call – a really poor option, and haven’t the Jazz fleeced the Nets enough already?
Millsap to Denver
I’ll start with by saying this: Millsap to Denver is the best option of the three.
While it’s a pipe dream to expect Masai Ujiri and the Denver front office to offer the package above, for some reason, this is what Jazz fans think is a fair value for Millsap. To put it gently, that will never happen. Denver won’t trade Faried – he is very productive and is on a rookie pay scale contract. You’ll likely be seeing him in powder blue for the next eight years, so might as well get used to it.
What would Denver gain by acquiring Millsap, who plays the same position as Faried? Millsap does have something that Denver likes to see in their players – the ability to play multiple positions, or “position-less basketball”. Millsap also rebounds the well, registering in the top 40 in the league in both offensive and defensive rebounds. Denver is the top offensive rebounding team in the league, thanks to the Manimal, and being able to sub out Faried for Millsap would help the offense not miss a beat.
Denver also has a player-friendly system installed by George Karl. It doesn’t always matter who starts the game, as Karl makes it clear that it is more important who plays in the fourth quarter and at the end of the game. If Karl had Millsap available, perhaps he would be less inclined to play Andre Miller alongside Ty Lawson late in the game.
What would Utah gain from trading with Denver? Denver has a bevy of draft picks from 2013 to 2017, a couple expiring contracts, and salary-cap friendly long term contracts. Want a talented backup with an expiring contract? Denver can send Corey Brewer, Timofey Mozgov, or Corey Brewer. Want a cap friendly long term contract? Denver can move Wilson Chandler or Anthony Randolph.
What is most attractive about Denver is the variety, as well as their ability to involve multiple teams. If the bank of Mark is open, Denver has proven in the past that they are able to get a deal done with the Mavericks front office.
Dallas has a young point guard in Darren Collison who is on an expiring contract and would be available to sign an extension with Utah after the trade. While Collison saw his numbers decrease while with Indiana, his game is built around speed, an element that did not succeed with the slow Pacers squad.
Utah would also get Vince Carter, who has lost a little bounce but would help bring a veteran presence to the team on a friendly contract, and Anthony Randolph, who has potential but has shown no progress while buried on the Denver bench.
The final piece of the package would be a draft pick from Dallas or Denver. If the Jazz wanted to look for a pick in 2013, they could talk with Denver. If they wanted a draft pick in 2014, they could talk with Dallas.
The Call: Send him to Denver.
As always, provide your feedback below or contact me on Twitter by sending a message to @trueDanLewis.