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SALT LAKE CITY — Maybe Paul Millsap's time in a Jazz uniform hasn't come to an end. Spencer Checketts, son of former Jazz president Dave Checketts and radio show host for team-owned radio station 1280 AM The Zone, reported on Twitter on Friday that the Jazz "will actively pursue" the former Jazzman in free agency.
Just caught wind that the Jazz will actively pursue Hawks UFA PF Paul Millsap this off-season. — Spencer Checketts (@1280Spence) June 12, 2015
It's going to be difficult to pull off. Millsap, an All-Star in his two seasons with the Hawks, would be a tremendous acquisition in talent for the Jazz. But Millsap's minutes would likely suffer compared to other rosters, due to the presence of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert in the frontcourt.
On Jan. 3, when the Hawks came to Utah to play the Jazz, Millsap had this to say about the possibility of coming back: "I'm focused on basketball. I'll weigh all options when the season's over with, but I'm happy with where I'm at."
Millsap has a good relationship with Jazz coach Quin Snyder, and credits him with a great deal of his development in year 1 of his Atlanta tenure. Snyder was an assistant with Atlanta at that time. Snyder helped Millsap with "Pick & roll situations, screen in the proper place, rescreens in proper place."
He also felt that Atlanta's offense "suited [him] better" than the Jazz's did under Ty Corbin.
Perhaps the biggest thing in the way of the Jazz signing Millsap is their inability to offer him a max contract unless significant salary shredding moves are made. According to Basketball Insiders, even if the Jazz release all of their non-guaranteed contracts (including Millsap's brother Elijah), the Jazz would only have $16.6 million in cap space. Paul Millsap's max contract would start at somewhere around $18.6 million. If another team would be willing to offer Millsap a max deal, and there are indications that they would, Millsap would have to give the Jazz a discount in order to sign in Utah.
In other words, I think Millsap signing with the Jazz is pretty unlikely. I predicted in my column last week that Millsap would stay with the Hawks, Instead, I suspect the Jazz use their salary space more conservatively: on a wing player to play alongside Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Rodney Hood, or on a upgrade at the 3rd big position (just not one that's All-Star sized).