The Hawks Should Move Millsap If It Means Re-Signing Horford
*Photo via AJC
The Atlanta Hawks are in quite the predicament at the moment. After signing Dwight Howard (3 years, $70.5 million) and re-signing Kent Bazemore (4 years, 70 million), the Hawks still have a key player unsigned at the moment, starting center and four-time all-star Al Horford. The Hawks are reaching deep into their cash-strapped pockets and are coming up empty so it’s time to start moving some pieces. Prior to the draft the team sent starting point guard Jeff Teague home to Indiana to free up some cash and now the team has to make another tough decision: Trade two-time all-star forward Paul Millsap in order to free up enough cash to sign Horford to a max deal. In tough times, tough decisions need to be made.
Millsap’s and Horford’s statistics are similar (17.1 ppg and 9 rebounds per game to 15.1 ppg and 7.3 rebounds per game, respectively. Millsap started in 81 games, Horford in 82.) and should have no bearing in the decision to move MIllsap. Both players are respected by their teammates, team management and the fans. That too should hold no weight in the decision. What should make the most difference is the fact that Horford not only played his entire 9 year NBA career for the Hawks but Millsap (after three years with the team) will have his contract come to an end following the 2016-17 season. Trading a player of his ability (and age, Millsap is only 31 years old) is a no-brainer.
Loyalty separates the great franchises in sports (New England Patriots, New York Yankees, San Antonio Spurs) from the decent ones (way too many to name). The Atlanta Hawks needs to demonstrate that level of loyalty to Horford and offer him a max deal. If that means that the team loses Millsap then so be it. A front court of Bazemore, Horford and Howard will leave the team in the top three in the Eastern Conference for next few seasons.