Thursday, July 16, 2009
Updated: July 17, 12:10 PM ET
Jazz elect to keep Millsap
By Chris Broussard
The Utah Jazz will match the four-year, $32 million offer the Portland Trail Blazers tendered restricted free agent Paul Millsap, the Jazz posted on their Web site Thursday evening. A league source confirmed the development to ESPN.com.
Under the terms of the contract, the Jazz will have to pay the 24-year-old forward $10.3 million this weekend. Portland front-loaded the contract to discourage Utah from matching, but the Jazz had said they would match any offer Millsap received.
A formal announcement is scheduled for Friday, the last day Utah can match Portland's offer.
Utah drafted Millsap in the second round of the 2006 NBA draft. In three seasons with the Jazz, he has averaged 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, with career bests of 13.5 ppg and 8.6 rpg this past season.
Utah's decision is likely to set in motion a string of moves by both teams. The Jazz, whose payroll will balloon to roughly $80 million, will continue trying to trade All-Star forward Carlos Boozer. If the Jazz don't move Boozer before next season's February trade deadline, they will have to pay a luxury tax of about $11 million.
The team recently told Boozer, who will make $12.7 million this season, that he is not in its long-term plans. Boozer responded by telling the Jazz to trade him. Chicago, Miami and New York are among the most interested teams.
Before the Blazers made their offer to Millsap, the club was in preliminary talks with Utah and Chicago about a three-team trade that would send Boozer to the Bulls, Chicago point guard Kirk Hinrich to Portland and Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas to the Jazz. Now that Portland recoups the roughly $8 million in salary-cap space it used to make the offer to Millsap, those trade talks could be revisited.
The Blazers could also decide to go after Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom. Negotiations between Odom and the Lakers have stalled, as Los Angeles recently took its three-year, $27 million offer off the table.
Portland has showed little interest in Odom to this point, a fact that baffles several executives around the league. But after coming up short in its attempts to add Hedo Turkoglu and now Millsap, perhaps the Blazers will set their sights on Odom. Such a move would not only strengthen Portland but also weaken the defending champion Lakers.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report