Sources told ESPN that the Hawks, after signaling to a number of teams that they were ready to trade Millsap and fellow pending free agents Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha, made it known Monday that they are pulling back after completing a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Korver.
The fact that Atlanta has managed to put together a season-high-tying winning streak of six games in the midst of all the recent trade speculation has likely contributed to the Hawks’ sudden reluctance to talk trades. Yet it remains to be seen, with the NBA’s annual trade deadline still 45 days away on Feb. 23, whether the Hawks will hold firm with their new stance on Millsap or decide once again to reconsider their trade options.
The Vertical first reported Monday that Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox had begun informing interested teams that Millsap was no longer available.
ESPN first reported on Jan. 1 that the Hawks were inviting offers for the likes of Millsap, Korver and Sefolosha.
That same night, Millsap told ESPN in Dallas that he hoped he wouldn’t be the next to go.
“It’s tough, but being in the league for 11 years, there’s going to be a lot of rumors,” Millsap said. “Who’s to say they’re true or not? But whatever happens, you gotta just be prepared for it.”
ESPN reported Friday that the Hawks were hopeful of securing at least one quality future first-round pick at the heart of any trade package they took back for Millsap, but it’s believed they were having difficult finding that kind of return for the 31-year-old because of Millsap’s looming free agency.
Earning $21.5 million in the second-to-last season of his current contract, Millsap is widely expected to opt out of that deal and become a free agent July 1, since he’s likely to attract offers from teams that will land in the $150 million range.
Toronto, Denver and Sacramento, sources said, are among the teams that had expressed fresh interest in trading for Millsap.
The Hawks also had serious Millsap trade discussions with both the Raptors and the Nuggets during the offseason, sources said, before making the same decision they’ve made now and pulling the three-time Eastern Conference All-Star selection off the market.