According to ESPN the Hawks are beginning to listen to trade offers for All-Star Power Forward Paul Millsap. The reasoning given was simple, they don’t want to have another All-Star walk away for nothing. Rumored teams that are interested are the Thunder, Nuggets, Raptors and, of course, our very own Boston Celtics. This has split Celtics nation. Many want to see Millsap come to Boston because it will give the Celtics another All-Star. Putting Isaiah Thomas, Paul Millsap and Al Horford together will certainly give the Celtics a Big 3. But is it worth it? Lets find out.
The Celtics won’t offer the best package to the Hawks:
Look everybody knows just how many assets the Celtics have. They have more assets than they know what to do with at this point. With all of that being said I’m not sure the Celtics are going to deploy all of those assets to go after Millsap. For starters if I’m Boston there are a few untouchables in terms of assets. I’m not throwing them the Nets pick or the right to swap with the Nets. For players they aren’t touching Smart or Brown and the only starter I’m giving up is Amir Johnson. So let’s look at what assets that leaves to give to the Hawks.
“Assets stashed overseas”
Wolves 2nd Round 2017
Clippers 2nd Round 2017
Cavs 2nd Round 2017
2018 Celtics 1st Round
2019 Celtics 1st Round
2019 Memphis 1st Round
As you can see the Celtics can offer a good package but not necessarily a great one. The Celtics can offer expiring contracts, decently valued draft picks and unproven young talent. Is this enough? Let’s look at what the other teams can offer.
Now before I get into why these teams can offer more let me get one thing out of the way. These are the only players I feel may be involved in a deal. None of these guys have been put into official reports but all do make sense. I would break down each package but they all really contain the same thing. They contain expiring contracts just like the Celtics package and also include proven young talent. Guys like Kanter, Nurkic and Ross all are proven assets. The Celtics simply can’t offer that. This move makes sense for each of these teams as well. For the Nuggets it allows them to finally get a Star that can push them into playoff contention. They aren’t interested in keeping Jokic and Nurkic so sending one out in this deal makes a lot of sense. The Thunder will finally acquire another All-Star to pair next to Westbrook and put the Thunder one step closer to contention. It would give the Raptors a chance to finally challenge Cleveland but I’m not sure this deal gets them over the hump anyway.
Millsap restricts future flexibility:
Acquiring Millsap will be no cheap task. He is currently making 20 million this year and is set to make 21 million next year. Is he worth this kind of money? Yes. But not to this Celtics team. The Celtics have three players on their roster right now who are set to get a raise in pay and adding this salary to this team will hinder their ability to do so. This also means that they would not be able to chase any other big free agents over the summer and this team certainly would take a hit in terms of depth considering they wouldn’t be able to allot funds to their bench.
Milsap doesn’t improve the Celtics enough:
The Celtics are in a great place right now. They have three different rebuilding plans they can use.
1). Acquire a Top 15 Player in the NBA to go along with Thomas and Horford
2). Stick with this roster as is and hope Brown becomes an All-Star talent
3). Build around a core of Smart, Bradley and Brown plus future draft picks
All three of these options are viable and acquiring Milsap ruins almost all of them. Millsap is a second tier All-Star in this league. He is good on both ends of the floor and certainly is a player that any franchise would love to have. Heck if the Celtics didn’t have Horford I’d love to have him. Does he make the Celtics a better team? There is no doubt he does. Does he make them better than Cleveland? No and that’s where the issues lie. The Cavaliers have arguably 2-3 Tier One All-Stars on their team. For the Celtics to reach that level they at least need two themselves. Thomas is slowly proving he can be on that level while Horford although great just isn’t quite there. Adding Millsap ensures us the 2nd seed in the East but also ensures that we will be the second best team as long as LeBron is in Cleveland. Maybe that’s good for some but I want championships out of this core and the addition of Milsap just won’t be enough.
Is Millsap really a good fit?
Everyone backing this trade says “Millsap is a great fit!” “He can rebound, shoot, and he plays defense!” Alright well lets pump the breaks for a second. For starters Millsap is shooting 44.4% from the field this season. This puts him 24th amongst forwards who play more than 30 minutes a game. Now I understand he is playing for a team that has its fair share of chemistry issues but still not what we are looking for from our 20 million dollar power forward. Let’s now move onto his Three Point shooting. He is shooting 31.8% from downtown this season which doesn’t get me all that excited. Pair that with the fact his usage percentage on this team would likely stay the same as it was in Atlanta and you find yourself realizing Millsap isn’t quite the fit he is made out to be. He’ll add rebounds but it isn’t a foregone conclusion he makes this team more efficient on the offensive end.
I will not deny Millsap makes us better. I will not deny Millsap’s talent. But It’s important to realize that bringing him in is the wrong move for this basketball team. If he made Boston a title contender, I would have no problem making this deal. The issue is that he just doesn’t do that. If I’m Danny I’m staying patient as I had throughout this whole process. Every move we make from here on out should move us closer to a title. Jeopardizing our future cap flexibility and being able to retain our young core moves us one step back. I know Celtics nation we have all been patient and want to jump into title contention right now but its important we stay with the plan. Jumping on the first All-Star that comes available will set us back in the long run.