As the Heat wait for the start of free agency in a couple of months, Paul Millsap didn’t wait to make his intentions known.
After the Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Wizards last week, Millsap said Saturday that he plans to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent July 1. But the 32-year-old power forward also mentioned that he hopes to return to the Hawks.
“Eventually I probably will opt out, yes,” Millsap said to reporters in Atlanta. “But I want to be here. I think talks have been pretty good, so we’ll see what happens.”
Is Millsap a player the Heat should target?
With Chris Bosh out of the picture, Millsap fits a Heat need at power forward. He’s also a consistent contributor, as he’s averaged more than 16 points and seven rebounds and has been named an All-Star in each of the past four seasons.
But Millsap is sure to want a lot of money. He was scheduled to make $21.5 million next season and will likely be looking for a maximum contract this summer.
Atlanta is eligible to give Millsap a projected five-year deal worth up to $205 million. Another team — like the Heat — can give him a four-year deal worth $158.4 million.
If the Heat offered Millsap a max contract this summer, he would take up about $35.3 million of Miami’s salary cap next season. With the Heat expected to have about $38 million in cap space after it clear Bosh’s contract off their salary cap, giving Millsap that much money wouldn’t leave Miami with much to spend on other players.
Considering Miami can choose to re-sign 30-year-old James Johnson to be its starting power forward for half of Millsap’s price, it’s hard to imagine the Heat investing that much money in a 32-year-old free agent.