According to a report in the New York Daily News, the Brooklyn Nets may now be looking past Ben Gordon and Josh Smith and are instead interested in acquiring Paul Millsap from the Utah Jazz. Although Millsap is the newest rumor, the Gordon and Smith talks are not yet dead, they are just on hold.
Millsap can fill the scoring power forward role that the Nets have been lacking if they can acquire him. The question for them will be, as it has been with just about all their trade rumors, does Brooklyn have enough pieces to complete a trade? Most people would consider Millsap less valuable than Josh Smith, so maybe this trade is more realistic.
This trade makes a lot more sense for Brooklyn than the Smith rumor did. It is actually possible to argue that Millsap is a better player than Smith, or at least a better player in Brooklyn’s system. First of all, he is not a superstar name and is not going to take many shots or demand the ball like Smith would. He is shooting 48% from the field and 74% from the foul line this year. Both those numbers are much better than Smith’s. Although Millsap averages 2 fewer points and 1 fewer rebound than Smith, he has played 6 minutes less per game, so they have really virtually had the same production.
A trade for Millsap could also be good for the Nets because it might help Deron Williams break out of his season-long slump. He has said in the past how he liked playing in Utah’s system. Well, one of the key pieces of Utah’s system was Paul Millsap, who Deron played with for 4+ seasons. The pick-and-roll with Millsap was very effective and maybe the Nets could bring some of those plays back into the playbook if they can get Paul Millsap.
One issue for Brooklyn would be re-signing Millsap after the season. This is the last year of his contract and he will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Many believe he will be demanding $10 million per year, which is fair for a player like him. If Brooklyn can get rid of Kris Humphries’s contract, that will not be a problem.
However, The Hump’s contract poses another issue: Utah has no use for him. The reason they want to trade Millsap is to open up some playing time for their other younger big guys. Kris Humphries will just add to their logjam problem, and to make things worse, he is under contract next season too, while Millsap can walk away from Utah. So the Jazz will not accept Humphries for Millsap.
So how can the Nets pull off this trade? A third team will need to be involved. This third team will have to have a need for a rebounder like Humphries, while also having an excess of young guards that Utah would want. Additionally, Brooklyn can throw in Marshon Brooks in the trade to either the Jazz or the third team involved. No matter how the Nets will try to pull this off, it will be a messy trade.
Although I believe that this trade makes more sense than the Gordon or Smith rumors, it is still unlikely to happen. The Nets don’t have enough assets to acquire someone like Millsap. If they do make a trade before the deadline, expect them to acquire a smaller name that will be able to help them off the bench. Don’t expect Brooklyn to trade for a starter.