nba Millsap: Hawks told me I won't be traded this season by Joe Wolfond 11h ago Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
It seems the Atlanta Hawks weren't just trying to stir up a bidding war when they informed teams that they were pulling All-Star power forward Paul Millsap from the trade market.
Millsap said he was personally assured by Hawks management that he'll remain with the team through the end of the season, at which point he's expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
"Now everybody can stop talking about it," Millsap told ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk on Tuesday. "I can stop thinking about it and just focus on basketball."
The Hawks repotedly began listening to offers for the 31-year-old around the start of the new year, and accelerated their efforts to move him after shipping Kyle Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers last week – a move that seemed to signal the start of a partial tear-down. They reportedly engaged in trade talks with several teams, including the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, and Toronto Raptors.
In the meantime, the Hawks have been busy reeling off six straight wins to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and without an overwhelming offer on the table, they opted to reverse course. Millsap said staying in Atlanta was "absolutely" his desired outcome.
"For me and my team, for us to really do something, I think that all the rumors (have) got to stop," he told Youngmisuk. "I think we are at a good place right now during the season and our main focus is basketball and winning and winning big."
Hawks coach and president Mike Budenholzer seems content to ride it out with this group, despite the possibility of losing Millsap for nothing in the offseason (as they did Al Horford this past summer).
"I just know that we feel strongly about this group, we feel good," Budenholzer said. "The collection of guys, the way they fit and play together, we have shown an ability to play well for long stretches and against good teams. We just have to maintain that for the rest of the year and we are excited about the group."