The Chicago Bulls need a veteran big man for their second unit and four-time All-Star Paul Millsap’s name keeps coming up as a possibility.
Most recently, long-time Bulls insider Sam Smith called Millsap “an interesting name” who could fill the role nicely.
Paul Millsap is “an Interesting Name” for the Bulls
Sam Smith of NBA.com explored the possibility of the Bulls signing Millsap, but he thinks the deal would need to be for the veteran’s minimum to make sense.
Millsap is the interesting name and perhaps having received that big free agent contract a few years back when Karnisovas was in Denver he wants to reunite. Or give him a thank you in Chicago. Of course, the Lakers want anyone close to 40, so they’ll make a pitch. He probably can get some money returning to Denver, which probably could use the help. If the Bulls could get him for a veteran’s minimum, he’d be great to have as still a clutch player and a tough competitor.
Does Millsap Have Anything Left in the Tank?
At 36 years old, Millsap’s best days are behind him, but he’s still a solid defender capable of giving a team like the Bulls some quality minutes in a reserve role. In 2020-21, Millsap averaged 9.1 points per game, which was the lowest of his career since his second season in the league.
His three-point accuracy dipped dramatically from a career-high .434 in 2019-20 to an accuracy rate that is identical to his career make percentage, .343. In 20.8 minutes per night, Millsap averaged 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.9 blocks per contest. So clearly, he’s not a guy who will come in and push Patrick Williams for minutes.
If anything, Millsap could helpfully fill the void that figures to be left with the departure of Thaddeus Young and Garrett Temple. Both of those guys offered some solid leadership to the younger Bulls, and while the overall results weren’t there, those 2 veterans’ value seemed evident. Millsap has comparable experience and also a good reputation as a leader.
The 15-year NBA veteran knows the Bulls’ Vice President of Basketball Operations, Arturas Karnisovas very well. Millsap spent the last four years of his career playing for the Denver Nuggets where Karnisovas was before taking the job in Chicago.
That bit of familiarity might work in the Bulls’ favor if they are competing against other suitors for Millsap’s services.
We’ve heard of some other options, such as LaMarcus Aldridge, but that might not be as good of a fit for the Bulls. Aldridge is one of the better offensive bigs in the NBA over the past 15 years, but he has declined significantly over the past two seasons.
He’s attempting a comeback after retiring due to a heart condition, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Even when Aldridge was in his prime, he wasn’t a plus defensive player. The Bulls’ second unit figures to be predicated on defensive intensity and Aldridge wouldn’t necessarily fit the mold.
Millsap seems like a better option, but the Bulls may get some competition from teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post.
As improved as the Bulls’ roster is, it would be hard for any veteran in Millsap’s situation to choose Chicago over Brooklyn considering they are the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA championship this season.
Expect to hear something about Millsap’s landing spot soon as the NBA season will begin in October.
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