Former Bulls Free-Agent Target Paul Millsap Reportedly Available

Former Bulls target Millsap reportedly available again originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Bulls were a finalist for Paul Millsap’s services during last offseason’s free agency period – until the veteran forward eventually chose the Brooklyn Nets.

But, with The Athletic’s Shams Charania reporting that the Nets and Millsap have agreed to find him “a new team where he can have a greater contribution,” it appears that union is now trending toward a split.

Whether the Bulls make another run at Millsap remains to be seen, but many of the factors that made them a logical landing spot for the former four-time All-Star in the offseason ring true now.

For one, the Bulls are short on frontcourt depth, with Tony Bradley the only true center option behind Nikola Vučević, and the power forward stable depleted due to injuries to Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr. and Patrick Williams. Millsap, who stands 6-foot-7, has been a power forward his entire career, but has accrued some small-ball center experience in recent seasons.

Plus, executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas has a strong connection to Millsap, given that Karnišovas worked in the Nuggets front office that inked him to a three-year, (roughly) $90 million contract in 2017, then re-signed him to a one-year, $10 million deal when that first pact expired.

The rub, of course, is that Millsap, who turns 37 on Feb. 10, is far from the four-time All-Star and franchise centerpiece he once was. Averaging career-lows in points (3.4), rebounds (3.7) and field-goal percentage (37.6), he finds himself buried in a crowded Nets frontcourt that features productive veterans (LaMarcus Aldridge) and ascending prospects (Nic Claxton, Day’Ron Sharpe) alike.

How buried is buried? Millsap is also averaging a career-low 11.3 minutes, and hasn’t once eclipsed 20 minutes in a game for Brooklyn. He’s appeared in just three of the Nets’ last 18 contests – a span which featured a stint in health and safety protocols – and has been away from the team for their last three games for personal reasons.

Funny enough, Millsap’s best game of the season may have come in a 111-107 loss to the Bulls in Brooklyn on Dec. 4. He posted 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block in 15 minutes that night, flashing hints of the two-way craft that once made him a star – and a few reminders at the defensive end that his prime is long passed:

But if the Bulls see in his Nets tape indications of there being something left in the tank that could be accessible with more opportunity, perhaps Millsap would be worth a flier. There are certainly frontcourt minutes to be had, given that just two days ago, Billy Donovan fielded a question on why his first three substitutes were guards against the monstrous Cleveland Cavaliers by joking: “Who else were we going to put in? We have no other big guys (besides Bradley).”

As far as trades are concerned, Millsap’s minimum salary is easily matchable with, say, Matt Thomas. If he reaches a buyout agreement with Brooklyn, that would be an option, too, but the Bulls would have to waive a player to clear a roster spot.

At the very least, it’s something to monitor.

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