The Brooklyn Nets signed free agent Paul Millsap to a veterans minimum one-year, $2.6 million deal last September. Here we are four months later, and the Nets and Millsap are working together to find a new team for the 36-year-old.
In the 24 games that Millsap played in for Brooklyn this year, he averaged 3.4 points and 3.7 rebounds. Both of those numbers are career lows for him. Last season in Denver, he averaged nine points and 4.7 rebounds in 56 games.
His role with the Nets has quickly diminished. Millsap averaged 11.3 minutes (another career-low) with the Nets this season in comparison to the 20.8 minutes per game that he played in for the Nuggets last year.
Between the time that Millsap spent in the health and safety protocols, as well as the games that he missed for personal reasons, Millsap’s played in two of Brooklyn’s last 17 games.
To no surprise, he wants to go to a team where he can have a greater contribution. However, could that team be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference?
Could veteran Paul Millsap leave the Brooklyn Nets for the Chicago Bulls?
Brooklyn jumped back into first place in the East on Friday night after beating San Antonio. The Nets are 29-16 but Chicago’s right behind Brooklyn in second at 28-16.
The Nets won’t face the Bulls again in the regular season, and although Brooklyn routed Chicago in the two’s last meeting on Jan. 12, the Nets finished 1-2 against the Bulls.
Ironically enough, Millsap had his best game of the season against Chicago on Dec. 4. He finished with 13 points (6-of-11) and seven rebounds in 15 minutes. That was one of the two times that he scored in double-digits for Brooklyn.
The reason why that’s ironic is because Millsap chose to sign with the Nets over the Bulls.
It’s hard to not wonder if the forward regrets placing Brooklyn ahead of Chicago.
When the Nets played the Pelicans in New Orleans in November, Millsap said (subscription required):
"“It’s tough,” Millsap said. “Obviously. You go in the game, you got five minutes to contribute right. Five minutes isn’t a long time on the basketball court, but you do the best that you can. And that’s all I try to do.”"
Knowing what we know now, the four-time All-Star has a chance of calling the United Center his new home.
Brooklyn’s main course of action right now should be to try to find a trade partner for Millsap ahead of the Feb. 10 deadline but the chances of that happening aren’t incredibly high. However, it could be done with one of the team’s five trade exceptions.
It’s more probable that Millsap will be a buyout candidate, which will open up the gate for him to sign with the Bulls.
Chicago forward Patrick Williams had surgery last October to fix torn ligaments in his left wrist and the timeline that he was given to return was 4-6 months. Derrick Jones Jr. (knee) is also out for 2-4 weeks due to a knee injury that he suffered against the Nets on Jan. 12.
Javonte Green (groin) should be back soon for the Bulls. He hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 31.
Chicago has a need and Millsap believes that he can still be a valuable contributor off the bench.
Due to his age and drop in production, he won’t have a large role regardless of which team he ends up with.
Millsap will turn 37 on Feb. 10. Will he get to celebrate his birthday with a new team?