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NBA Rumors: Paul Millsap leaving Atlanta? Hawks unlikely to give All-Star PF max contract

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PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks

Paul Millsap is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason after opting out of the final year of his contract with the Atlanta Hawks. Though the Hawks want to re-sign him, they are reportedly not willing to give him a max contract which could force the All-Star forward to entertain other offers in free agency.

The NBA Playoffs 2017 marked the 10 straight years the Hawks entered the postseason. Unfortunately, despite being a legitimate playoff contender, they were unable to completely dominate the Eastern Conference. With their inability to contend for the title, the Hawks may end up losing the last member of their famous starting five, Paul Millsap.

NBA Rumors: Will Paul Millsap take less money in free agency?

Hawks new general manager Travis Schlenk revealed that re-signing Paul Millsap remains as their top priority. However, they are open for the possibility that Millsap will entertain offers from other NBA teams since they don’t plan to give him a max contract.

“We are going to make Paul our best offer,” Schlenk said. “Will he have better offers? I don’t know. Do we want to keep Paul? Sure. I said last week, if you are building a team with all the things I’ve said, Paul checks all those boxes. He’s a hard-worker. He’s a good guy. He’s high-character. Skilled. He does all that stuff. We’d like to have him. The reality is, he might get better offers than we can make him.”

According to Chris Vivlamore of Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Millsap is eligible to sign a five-year deal worth $205 million with the Hawks. Other NBA teams can only offer him a four-year deal worth $152 million. Schlenk’s statements indicate that the Hawks won’t give Millsap a max offer.

Not giving Paul Millsap a max contract, a wise move for the Hawks

Schlenk made it that his philosophy is to avoid bad contracts and accumulate players with tradeable deals. Millsap may be the best player in Atlanta but no one can deny the fact that he’s already on the downside of his career. As of now, Schlenk wants to focus on the upcoming NBA draft where they have three selections to restock their roster.

“I’m focusing on the draft rather than Paul,” Schlenk said. “It’s (being discussed) in the room but right now, No. 19 (the team’s draft pick) is the most important thing. I can tell you we want Paul. We want to keep him. He checks everything.”

ALSO READ: Tyronn Lue on Finals Loss: ‘A lot of guys cried because they wanted it bad’

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