The Atlanta Hawks will no longer employ DeMarre Carroll after the free agent small forward agreed to a four-year contract with the Toronto Raptors. However, the organization has convinced the other half of a high-profile free agent duo to stick around, as the Hawks and All-Star power forward Paul Millsap have reportedly agreed to a three-year contract worth in the neighborhood of $58 million.
Paul Millsap staying with Hawks on three-year deal for $58 million, per source. Player option for third year.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 1, 2015
In the hours before this news broke, Millsap was said to be weighing identical offers from the Hawks and the Orlando Magic in the four-year, $80 million range, with the potential lure of a lack of state tax in Florida as the bait for a departure. Still, Millsap has succeeded during his two-year stint in Atlanta, to the point where he solidly outperformed his previous contract (two years, $19 million total) and was named to the 2015 All-Star team.
It is important to note that the Atlanta Hawks may be forced to endure some salary cap gymnastics to make this contract work. The club does not hold Millsap's full bird rights, but rather the "early bird" level, and because Millsap signed a contract that exceeded the maximum allotted under "early bird" rights, Atlanta must pay him using cap space. To be clear, the salary cap mechanics will remain unclear until after the NBA finalizes the 2015-2016 salary cap, but the non-guaranteed contract of Austin Daye could be released in order to create additional space.
For now, however, it is perfectly reasonable for Hawks fans to celebrate, as the future is bright with Paul Millsap under contract for three additional seasons. Stay tuned.