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With the Offseason rapidly approaching, the Celtics are the team that everyone has their eyes on to see what avenue they will take in terms of the Draft and Free Agency moves. One of the biggest names on the market this summer will be Paul Millsap, who has opted to decline his player option for the final year of his 3-year contract with the Atlanta Hawks. Via Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports:

Atlanta Hawks All-Star forward Paul Millsap has opted out of his $21.4 million contract for next season to become a free agent, league sources told The Vertical.

Atlanta has publicly stated that Millsap will be a top priority in July free agency, and Millsap has expressed interest in re-signing.

Millsap averaged 24.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the Hawks’ first-round series loss to the Washington Wizards. In 69 regular-season games, he averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds, and earned his fourth All-Star appearance.

This all begs the question of whether the Celtics should be interested in Millsap as one of their free agent targets. The 32-year-old PF has been named an All-Star for the past 4 seasons and is widely recognized as one of the best all-around big men in the NBA. Now obviously, at 6'8, it's not exactly appropriate to call him "big" but in the modern NBA full of stretch fours and versatile bigs, Millsap has made himself known as one of the best. Even with him being on the wrong side of 30 years old, he set career highs in points and assists per game at 18.1 ppg and 3.7 apg. He also had a great six game playoff stretch against the Washington Wizards in the first round averaging 24 points, 9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

While this all may sound gravy, he is still 32 years old, with aspirations of receiving a 4 to 5 year deal at max money. He was also teammates with Al Horford for several years in Atlanta and together, they never got the Hawks past the Conference Finals, which the Celtics already did this year. Would Millsap alone help push Boston past Cleveland next year in the playoffs? Probably not. Would adding Gordon Hayward/trading for Jimmy Butler or Paul George, drafting Fultz, AND adding Millsap get us past Cleveland? Now the answer would lean towards yes, but the logistics of all that working out is too complicated to bank on.

However, what is clear, is that the Celtics do need an upgrade at PF. While Amir Johnson has had some nice moments these past two years, he's nothing more than a role player who ideally would come off the bench, not start. The Celts do have the ability to offer two max contracts this offseason, but it would mean that trades would most certainly come with that prospect and it could limit the Celts going forward. There are cheaper options that Danny Ainge can look at but Millsap is the top PF on the market.



Atlanta is looking to keep Millsap and they can offer him more money than anyone, but for Millsap, it's more of a question of whether or not he wants go elsewhere for a better chance to compete for a title, or if he wants the most money he can get. Clearly he's at least open to moving, otherwise he wouldn't have declined his option for next season. Adding him to the Celtics would instantly make our team much better and with his outside shooting ability, passing, and pick-and-roll abilities, he'd fit into Brad Stevens' offense. Not to mention he's also a solid defender and would help to maybe at least get a rebound here and there (looking at you Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller, Jonas Jerebko, and Amir Johnson).

If Celtics fans need a refresher, he did emasculate the entire Boston front court last year in the playoffs with his 45 point performance in Game 4 of the 1st round. He showed that same ability to dominate this year vs Washington in the first round series and while the Hawks did go down, Millsap played the best basketball of his playoff career:





Again, Millsap would immediately make the Celtics better should they try and sign him, but in the end is it worth paying max dollars to a 32-year-old who still wouldn't push the team past Cleveland and would limit the Celtics' options in the future? Well, I am grateful that I don't have to answer that question, only Danny Ainge can and I'm sure he'll consider what Millsap can bring to the table.

What do you think about Paul Millsap?

Image Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Follow Kevin Yazhari on Twitter @KevKevYazhari

Kevin Yazhari 5/31/2017 12:23:00 PM Edit
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