One thing we know for sure about the San Antonio Spurs’ offseason is that the team will re-sign Tim Duncan sometime on or shortly after July 11th. After that, the Spurs’ offseason is a bit of a crap shoot. They have a couple of guys, Danny Green and Boris Diaw that we presume they’d like re-sign and a couple of European players, Nando De Colo and Erazem Lorbek, who reportedly would like to come state side next season. That’s four players and not a ton of money or roster space for all of them. There’s also news out of Utah, where Danny Green thinks he’d be a good fit, that Jazz forward Paul Millsap is looking for a contract extension. This leads me to wonder if Utah would be interested in discussing some sort of swap involving Millsap if they thought Green was their shooting guard in the future.
Let’s be clear, Millsap and Green are not equal players. Millsap is a near All-Star who is in the prime of his career. Utah is sure to re-sign him, right? Maybe not because Utah already has two big men in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter that could end up being better than Millsap (Favors maybe even next season). Woudln’t Utah rather trade Millsap to improve their team in other ways? The Spurs don’t want to lose Green, but if Utah offers him $4 or $5 million a year should the Spurs match? Wouldn’t make more sense to engage Utah in a sign and trade package revolving around Millsap. Utah needs some reliable shooters badly. Would a Danny Green, Matt Bonner and future first round pick be enough for Millsap? Bonner would be more useful to Utah than most because he could play with Favors, Kanter and Al Jefferson and Green would provide perimeter shooting and defense that Utah just didn’t have last season.
Millsap is in the final year of a contract that pays him $8.6 million and he’s looking for an extension in the four year, $40 million range. This is something the Spurs could do because they’ll have plenty of cap space starting next summer and there are worse ways to spend $40 million than on a 27 year old power forward who can score and rebound (see: Jefferson, Richard contract). Millsap could play with Duncan or Tiago and is a decent pick and roll and isolation defender. It doesn’t solve the Spurs’ shot blocking problems, but it would be an upgrade over Boris Diaw (assuming they can even re-sign him). If it doesn’t work out next year than the Spurs have another $8 million in cap space, which isn’t a bad thing at all. First things first though, you have to get Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor to agree to this sort of thing and he’s no dummy.