As Al Horford’s mythical decision deadline approaches on Saturday evening, the Atlanta Hawks are reportedly engaged in trade discussions concerning incumbent power forward Paul Millsap.
Sources: Hawks continue to shop Millsap, believing Horford will warm to return. It will likely take another bump in Atlanta's contract offer— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
In addition, the Hawks representatives continue to speak to Horford and his representatives, with the discussion surrounding salary, rather than whether a five-year deal is acceptable.
Sources: Talks ongoing between Horford, Hawks' camps today. Late ATL push. Horford's had 5-year offer all along there; engaging on salary.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
Atlanta could be weighing a number of different scenarios, needing to clear just north of $10 million in salary cap space in order to land Horford (on a max deal), Dwight Howard and Kent Bazemore. Moving Paul Millsap would be perhaps the easiest way to create that additional space, given his massive value on the open market, but Zach Lowe of ESPN brings word that bringing that cap room would not be the major incentive for Millsap trade.
Cap space for Horford would not be the reason they trade Millsap, if they do https://t.co/LEzXaSblHe— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 2, 2016
While there is room for translation here, the Hawks could be resigned to the fact that the three-headed frontcourt monster of Howard, Horford and Millsap is not something they want to deploy moving forward. Beyond that, Millsap remains under contract for just one more season before encountering a player option for 2017-2018 (one that he will very likely decline) and the Hawks could be motivated to extract value now for the All-Star forward, rather than facing a big-time financial decision next summer.
Al Horford is the biggest domino still to fall for the Atlanta Hawks in free agency, but a number of balls seem to be in the air at this late stage.