All-Star forward Paul Millsap expected to engage in contract talks with the Atlanta Hawks, his team for the past four seasons, but found that in today’s NBA, loyalty is fleeting.
One day after agreeing to a three-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, Millsap revealed the reason for his departure to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Hawks never made him an offer, forcing him to look for work elsewhere.
“I thought I meant a bit more than that to them,” said the 11-year veteran. “But it is what it is.”
Millsap posted averages of at least 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in each of the past four years, making the All-Star Game as a reserve every time. The Hawks finished fifth in the Eastern Conference in 2017 but have parted ways with their most prominent players and now look headed towards a rebuild.
The Nuggets, meanwhile, finally have a legitimate star to go with their existing core of Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and Emmanuel Mudiay. It’s not a perfect rotation, but they will still have a chance to remain competitive in the ever-escalating Western Conference arms race.
“It was pretty simple. Denver, they came and they have been wanting me for years. They made that known. The presentation that they gave me, it felt comfortable, it felt real. At the end of the day it was going to be the team that I felt most comfortable with,” Millsap said. “Atlanta decided to go another direction. They didn’t want to make an offer. So it was pretty simple. Denver was the team.”
He added that it was “definitely disappointing” to not receive an offer from the Hawks.
Millsap, 32, was the last remaining starter from the 2014-15 Hawks, a team that won 60 games and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, those players are mostly scattered across the East’s better teams — Al Horford with the Celtics, Kyle Korver with the Cavaliers and DeMarre Carroll with the Raptors. Jeff Teague, who recently agreed to a deal with the Timberwolves, is the lone exception.