Millsap: Everybody knows where my heart is and where I want to be

Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) and guard Dennis Schroder (17) reacts after Milsap scored late in the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Atlanta. The Hawks won the game 105-98. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

caption arrowCaption
Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) and guard Dennis Schroder (17) reacts after Milsap scored late in the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Atlanta. The Hawks won the game 105-98. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

The Hawks are listening to trade offers.

When an NBA team opens the lines of communication, it takes the first step toward potential roster moves. So maybe the Hawks trade Paul Millsap or Kyle Korver or Thabo Sefolosha. Or maybe not.

The Hawks may be moving in the direction of trading a major piece of the current roster. Millsap is the most likely candidate as the three-time all-star could command a major return between now and the trade deadline on Feb. 23. The power forward had his name mentioned in the rumor mill before the season started, mostly because he can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and become an unrestricted free agent.

For his part, Millsap wants to stay in Atlanta.

“Rumors are rumors,” Millsap said Tuesday before the Hawks departed for a four-game road trip. “I think we know that. Been down this road before. I think we talked at the beginning of the year that it wasn’t going to be the first or the last time. It is what it is. Whatever happens, I think everybody knows where my heart is and where I want to be. But we’ll see what happens. The only thing I can worry about and I can do is to go out there and play my butt off every night and try to get wins for this team.”

And his heart would be here?

“That would be here, yes,” he said.

As much as Millsap would like to stay, the decision is not his at this point. The Hawks have been inconsistent all season after a considerable roster overhaul this summer. They stand at 18-16 only after a winning three straight home games. Some in the organization would like to see another major re-configuration of the roster. Others would not. Those discussions are currently taking place as the organization weighs offers.

Millsap waits and finds solace on the basketball court.

“I’m human,” Millsap said. “You don’t want to hear things like that. With that being said, I’m also a professional. I’ve been around the league for a while. I know the business of the league. Some stuff, like my mom said, you let it roll off your back like water on a duck’s back. You keep moving on.”

Millsap is one of the top two-way players in the NBA and has been the Hawks best player this season. He leads the team in team in points per game (17.8) and is second in rebounds (8.2), assists (3.7), steals (1.5) and blocks (0.9). In his most recent outing, Millsap had 32 points and 13 rebounds in the Hawks’ 114-112 overtime win over the Spurs Sunday. And he did it while guarding the Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge most of the game.

“We are always doing our jobs and working and listening and taking calls and considering how we can do what’s best for our organization,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who also serves as the president of basketball operations.

Budenholzer would neither confirm nor deny any possible trade or that a deal was imminent. He also said trade talks have not intensified because of the Hawks’ inconsistent start to the season.

Korver is another player whose name has come up in conversations with other teams.

As with Millsap, Korver knows it is all part of the business of professional basketball.

“The NBA is a great job,” Korver said. “It’s a great job. I wouldn’t have any other job. But living stability is not one of the strengths of this job. You don’t know where you are going to be tomorrow. We don’t get to plan things out. That’s just part of this great job that we get to do.

“Last year there was all this talk and nothing happened. Who knows? We don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. The Hawks are going to do what is best for them. I feel like we are playing in our groove again. I feel like if we didn’t have the bad road trip out west, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It’s on us players to go out there and get wins. If you get wins, it takes care of a lot of things.”

About the Author

Editors' Picks