By Dan Jenkins
The Atlanta Hawks will likely be shopping veteran power forward Paul Millsap before the NBA trade deadline hits in February.
The Hawks are reportedly already listening to offers for the 31-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer once he opts out of his current contract.
Millsap is by no means a still star, rather a savvy vet — something that the Detroit Pistons are sorely missing. After making the playoffs for the first time in seven years last season, the Pistons have regressed to a 16-20 record and sit outside of the Eastern Conference’s top eight teams.
Players’ only meetings and lineup changes have dominated headlines surrounding the Pistons for the past few weeks — right after point guard Reggie Jackson came back from a knee injury.
After limping through the month of December with a 5-10 record, the Pistons need a shot in the arm. Making a trade for someone like Millsap could be the answer.
Here’s one possible trade that the Pistons could complete to bring Millsap to the Motor City.
Pistons receive: Paul Millsap
Hawks receive: Marcus Morris, Ish Smith and Aron Baynes.
It might sound like the Pistons would be giving up a lot in this scenario, but they really wouldn’t be. The Pistons are likely prepared to lose Baynes after the season ends, which is why they signed Boban (BOBAN!) Marjanović to a rather large contract over the summer. They could also replace Smith’s production with more playing time for reserve Beno Udrih, who played superbly off the bench while Jackson was injured.
But most importantly, Millsap would fill in as a much better piece for the Pistons than Morris.
General manager and coach Stan Van Gundy has proved that he isn’t afraid to make large-impact moves during the middle of a season — i.e. releasing Josh Smith and trading for Tobias Harris.
The Pistons would likely have to give up a lot to bring Millsap to town — and run the risk of losing him to free agency in the offseason just like the Hawks do — but he might be the perfect fit for Van Gundy’s system.