The Dwight Howard era is over for the Atlanta Hawks and the team might not be done dealing in the very near future. Brian Windhorst of ESPN, as part of a television interview, put forth the possibility that the Hawks could be dabbling in sign-and-trade possibilities for unrestricted free agent forward Paul Millsap.
Windhorst indicated the following:
“There are three or four teams out there that are willing to give Paul Millsap a max-level contract, and sources have told me that the Hawks have already begun getting some feelers on Paul Millsap sign-and-trades. Teams like the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets [are] interested in Paul Millsap, and this is so interesting because, at midseason, Paul Millsap was put on the trade block and there was a revolt in the locker room and Mike Budenholzer, the team president, pushed back against it. They took him off the trade block and then here we are a few months later - they're probably going to lose Paul Millsap anyway and Mike Budenholzer is no longer in charge of the team.”
Earlier in the interview, Windhorst said that the feeling around Atlanta was that the Hawks were set to go into “full rebuild mode” after the trade of Dwight Howard to Charlotte. Even if that is not the case in terms of a full-blown tanking effort, it would make sense for the Hawks to explore some way to recoup value in the event that signing (and likely overpaying) Paul Millsap is not in the team’s plans under Travis Schlenk.
It should be noted that teams like the Kings and Nuggets could have the requisite salary cap space to simply sign Millsap outright and, thus, would have little interest in a sign-and-trade. However, there are teams around the league that could certainly benefit from a top-20 player in the league and, if they don’t have cap space, a sign-and-trade would be the only possibility.