Bulls Among Three Teams ‘In Pursuit’ of 4x All-Star: Insider

Paul Millsap

Getty Paul Millsap reacts during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers during a game on January 9.

After finally trading fourth-year forward Lauri Markkanen, the Chicago Bulls offseason is largely complete, absent a few potential additions around the edges.

One name that’s continued to be tied to the Windy City? Four-time All-Star forward Paul Millsap.

The 36-year old is coming off of his 15th career season, which he spent with Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Chicago is a team, among others, in pursuit of free agent Millsap:

Along with Brooklyn and Golden State, the Bulls are pursuing free-agent forward Paul Millsap, sources said.

And as he notes, good things usually come to those who employ the forward, who’s played in 129 playoff games:

Millsap, a battle-tested 15-year NBA veteran, finished a four-year stint in Denver in which the Nuggets had a 64.7 percent winning percentage and reached the Western Conference finals in 2020.

Denver deployed Millsap in a more reserve role last season, where he averaged nine points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

There are 50 days until the Chicago Bulls’ 2021-2022 season, but no deadline to bring in someone like Paul Millsap.

Can Arturas Karnisovas and the front office make one last splash this offseason?

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Bulls Can Offer Millsap a Nice Payday

The Chicago Bulls may be in a position to offer Paul Millsap the most money, out of the three reported teams.

As former NBA general manager John Hollinger, now with The Athletic reports, they can offer the 35-year old their $3.7-million Bi-Annual Exception, among other things:

It’s unclear whether or not they’d be willing to sign the 15-year veteran to a three-year deal using the trade exception created in the Daniel Theis sign-and-trade.

But if they did, as Hollinger notes, Millsap’s starting salary could reach over $5-million next year.

At his age, one has to wonder if the Brooklyn Nets or Golden State Warriors would offer him as much money, especially given the exorbitant payrolls of both teams, and both contenders heading into next year.

And that last part, the team’s individual statuses, may play the largest role in these Paul Millsap “sweepstakes.”

Nets, Warriors Have Better Title Shot

One thing that’s important to note in any speculation about Paul Millsap’s future is his timeline.

The 36-year old, after being drafted 47th overall in 2006, has defied all odds and played a lengthy 15-season career.

But how many years he has left, or wants to play, could dictate where he lands next.

In the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors, Millsap will have a better shot at winning the title.

Despite the Chicago Bulls’ offseason additions of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, they’re still far from being considered a contender in the Eastern Conference.

And as Charania noted in his reporting on Monday, Millsap’s role in Brooklyn could be a large one:

In Brooklyn, Millsap would compete for a starting power forward role alongside Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.

It’s hard to see head coach Billy Donovan offering the 36-year old a starting job in the Windy City.

And in Golden State, Millsap could play power forward in small-ball lineups, next to Draymond Green in the frontcourt.

The role, fit, pay, playing time; all factors at play when guys with Paul Millsap’s resume hit the free-agent market in the twilight of their careers.

Whether the Chicago Bulls check one, none or all three of those boxes can only be decided by the player himself.

But as has been proven this offseason, it has become increasingly unwise to count out Arturas Karnisovas.

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