The Hawks have agreed to sign unrestricted free agent forward Paul Millsap to a multi-year contract, according to multiple reports.
The free-agent negotiating period opened Monday. Contracts can’t officially be signed until July 10.
Earlier Friday, the Jazz renounced their rights to Millsap so they could acquire Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush in a trade with the Warriors. Utah received multiple first-round picks in exchange for taking on the three expiring contracts from Golden State, who used their new-found cap space to reach an agreement with unrestricted free agent guard/forward Andre Iguodala.
Millsap, 28, averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game for the Jazz, appearing in 78 games last season.
A 2006 second-round pick, Millsap has spent his entire seven-year career in Utah, developing a reputation as an underrated, hardworking power forward with a versatile offensive game. Last season, Millsap was Utah's second-leading scorer and rebounder and his PER of 19.9 ranked sixth among power forwards league-wide. This guy is as dependable as it gets: Millsap has appeared in 540 out of a possible 558 games (96.8 percent) during his career.
Earlier this week, veteran center Al Jefferson agreed to sign with the Bobcats, leaving the Jazz after three seasons, and now Millsap departs, bulldozing a wide open path for a youth movement that has been anticipated for some time. This transition of power to young big men Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter was inevitable, but that both Jefferson and Millsap walk in the same week without any direct compensation is worth a raised eyebrow. It's particularly surprising Utah would allow Millsap to leave town on such a reasonable contract, but it's likely management simply decided the Millsap/Jefferson combination had run its course with a first-round playoff exit in 2012 and a lottery trip in 2013. Amassing picks makes plenty of sense with a young, talented quintet -- 2013 lottery pick Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Favors and Kanter -- ready to serve as the foundation for the next era. Grade: A. In some ways, this contract is almost too good to believe. Consider Jefferson signed a three-year deal worth $41 million and Hawks forward Josh Smith could possibly command a four-year deal worth upwards of $50 million. Millsap just might be the most valuable of those three players, regardless of price, and he is a downright steal at just $9.5 million per year on a short deal smack dab in the middle of his prime. GM Danny Ferry now has a sturdy foundation to build around thanks to the pairing of Millsap and incumbent center Al Horford. Don't be surprised if Millsap is in the mix for an All-Star spot in the weaker Eastern Conference.