NBA Sunday: Jazz Talking Millsap Extension
Millsap Extension Talks Happening With Utah
Anybody who’s spent any time watching the Utah Jazz over the course of the last year knows that the future of that team lies in the kids. The young frontcourt of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter has looked very, very promising at times, and had the Jazz not surprised everyone by making the playoffs last year, the youth movement may have been given the green light in Salt Lake City for 2012-2013.
Instead, Utah looks as committed as ever to Paul Millsap, whose contract expires next summer. Instead of exploring the idea of trading him or letting him walk so Favors can bloom, Millsap and the Jazz have reportedly already begun talking about an extension, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The deal on the table is for three years with 7.5% increases in salary each year of the contract, and while that sounds like it would be a great deal for the average American, a player as good as Millsap might deserve more. Remember, his $8 million-per-season (on average) deal has been one of the best bargains in basketball the last three years, so even with the raises a new, three-year deal starting in 2013-2014 would only top out at around $25 million based on his 2012-2013 salary of $7.2 million.
So, perhaps unsurprisingly, Millsap and his camp aren’t showing much interest in the offer. They think—and rightfully so—that he could earn more as a free agent in the summer of 2013, and really nobody’s going to argue with that. He could. And should.
But the really interesting thing about all of this is the fact that Utah is trying to extend him at all. It’s not that they should let him go in free agency without pulling back any assets in return. He is, after all, Utah’s best player. But with Favors finally starting to come into his own, the time is approaching—and much sooner than four years from now, when Millsap’s hypothetical new deal would expire—where he’s going to want his own opportunity to start and thrive for the Jazz.
So there’s at least an outside chance that these talks are taking place right now as a formality to show Millsap appreciation for everything he’s done for the franchise. They must know he’s more valuable than the $8.33 million a season he’d earn in that new deal, and they can’t be shocked to hear he’d rather let the market dictate his value a year from now.
The real question, though, is whether they really plan to keep Millsap through 2016, and what that means for Favors. Millsap isn’t so old that he couldn’t grow with the rest of the young core, and NBA common sense says that sometimes it’s definitely smarter to keep the established NBA player rather than ship him off and hope the kid with potential blossoms into something comparable or better.
It doesn’t always happen that way, so maybe the long-term plan is to keep Millsap since he’s a known commodity, and if Favors really does start to look ready to start, maybe he’s the one who gets traded instead. It would be far from silliest thing an NBA organization could ever do, and many would even applaud such a direction.
In either case, Utah is putting down the ground work to keep Paul Millsap a member of the Jazz, but it’s going to be about a year before fans know whether that ground work pays off.
Blatche Could Be Miami’s Latest Bargain Buy
There have been no shortage of eye rolls from fans this summer every time a headline starts, “Miami HEAT Show Interest In…” because in the cases of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, both respected NBA veterans worth way more than they’ll be making in South Beach next season, the HEAT got two players that should inexplicably make them better.
And Pat Riley got those players by flashing championship rings in front of their faces. It’s a recruiting pitch that works, and it’s why literally every free agent in the world lays his head on his pillow at night thinking, “You know, it wouldn’t be so bad to take less money and go a year or two alongside LeBron and D-Wade in one of the most entertaining cities in the country that, oh-by-the-way, doesn’t have any state income tax.”
All that said, it’s not surprising to see ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reporting that Miami is doing some leg work on free agent Andray Blatche, arguably the best free agent left in the pool at this point.
Of course they are.
According to the Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, Blatche owns a house in South Florida and has been holding the majority of his summer workouts right there in Miami, and that combined with all the other reasons players love the HEAT—of which a championship wouldn’t be the least of them—has the rumor mill grinding once again.
Though, as Winderman points out, despite the advantages, there are some distinct disadvantages to a player signing up for duty in Miami, particularly for a player like Blatche, who needs the right opportunity to re-establish himself as a credible NBA player. He’s not necessarily going to get that as the 10th man on a championship team, the same way Eddy Curry didn’t get much of an opportunity to re-establish himself as a credible NBA player in Miami.
Blatche could certainly take a gig with Miami (or even San Antonio, who is also reportedly showing some interest), but it’s a whole different kind of opportunity. It’s an opportunity to win a championship on Washington’s dime, in a city that he loves, with some of the greatest players to ever grace a court. What it is not, however, is an opportunity to actually play, so it will be interesting to see where Blatche’s values lie should Miami eventually come forward with a deal.
They haven’t yet; according to Stein all they’re doing is background work right now, but if that does come up, Miami might further bolster their squad with the best bargain bin talent available. It won’t be the last time that happens, either.