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NBA Free Agency 2017: Paul Millsap thanks fans, expresses disappointment in Atlanta Hawks

Paul spoke to the AJC about his exit from Atlanta.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Millsap is no longer a member of the Atlanta Hawks and, at least to some degree, his now-former organization bears responsibility for that arrangement. On Monday, Chris Vivlamore of the AJC caught up with Millsap and unearthed that the All-Star forward was never actually offered a contract by the Hawks before agreeing to a three-year pact (including a team option) with the Denver Nuggets.

In addition to that bombshell revelation, Millsap spoke glowingly to the AJC about the fans in Atlanta and his time in a Hawks uniform.

“Definitely a great four-year run. They helped me. The city of Atlanta has been unbelievable to me. I know that they are probably a little disappointed but I appreciated all the love that they showed to me. Atlanta is still going to be my summer place. My family is still going to be there. They’ve been great.”

“You hear a lot of talk before I got there, the fans this, the fans that. Actually being in it, they are dedicated and loyal fans. They’ve always had my back from day one. I’m very appreciative for that.”

It comes as no surprise that Millsap would offer this type of sentiment for the fans, as he has always carried himself in an immensely professional manner. While he may not have been the “superstar” personality that some fans crave, Millsap was a top-25 player in the NBA for the duration of his tenure and that, combined with his consistency, made for a solid marriage between player and fan base.

Still, that does not mean that Millsap was pleased with the organization not offering him a contract and he shared as much, again with Chris Vivlamore of the AJC.

“Definitely disappointing. I thought I meant a bit more than that to them. But it is what it is. I’m happy with the decision I’ve made. I’m happy with the team I’m with. I’m ready to get it going with them.”

This is a feeling that many fans have also expressed in the hours since the news broke, simply because it can certainly be seen as insulting that Atlanta would not tender a competitive offer. Beyond that, Denver’s final contract is largely seen as a steal in NBA circles, leaving many to wonder why the Hawks would not be willing to match, or even exceed, such an offer.

The rebuild appears to be on and, in keeping with that, Millsap would not have been a great fit moving forward at his age. Still, it feels quite strange in some respects to see a top-tier player leave in free agency without a competitive offer and, in reading between the lines, Millsap appears at least slightly stung by the process.

Best to Paul Millsap in Denver and, at the very least, it is impossible to blame him for exiting given that no offer was on the table to remain in Atlanta. Stay tuned.