Paul Millsap’s four-year run with the Atlanta Hawks is over, as the veteran forward signed a lucrative three-year, $90 million deal with the up-and-coming Denver Nuggets.
After the Hawks traded Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets, the writing was on the wall for Millsap’s departure from Atlanta, as it was clear they were heading for a rebuild.
Millsap, while speaking with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said the Hawks never made a contract offer to him and that the presentation the Nuggets delivered during their free agency pitch was great.
“It was pretty simple,” Millsap said. “Denver, they came and they’ve been wanting me for years. They made that known. The presentation that they gave me, it felt comfortable, it felt real. At the end of the day it was going to be the team that I felt most comfortable with and Atlanta. Atlanta decided to go in another direction. They didn’t want to make an offer. So it was pretty simple. Denver was the team.”
The NBA is a business first. There really is no such thing as loyalty in this league. Millsap fully understands that, and while he is disappointed that his tenure in Atlanta ended so abruptly, the four-time All-Star said he’ll look fondly on his time with the Hawks and is excited for what the future holds in Denver.
“Definitely disappointing,” Millsap said. “I thought I meant a bit more than that to them. But it is what it is. I’m happy with the decision I’ve made. I’m happy with the team I’m with. I’m ready to get it going with them. It was a great four-year run. They helped me. The city of Atlanta has been unbelievable to me. They are dedicated and loyal fans. They’ve always had my back from day one. I’m very appreciative for that.”
Millsap is joining a young and exciting core in Denver, led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. This is really the perfect signing for the Nuggets, as Millsap is a proven scorer and defender who will surely help the Nuggets vault into the playoffs next season.
“Defensively, I know I can help in that area,” Millsap said. “Add that with their scoring capability, you have something really special.”
Millsap hit the nail on the head with that last quote.
The Nuggets ranked third this past season in points per game at 111.7 — but let opposing teams score on them at will, giving up 111.2 points (27th out of 30).
Millsap’s toughness and high IQ should make Denver a more formidable defensive unit.