While the bulk of free agency has concluded, some players are still left unsigned that could be helpful for teams with postseason aspirations. According to a report from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is leaving no stone unturned, recently showing interest in former Denver Nugget Paul Millsap:
“Golden State has been the team most often linked by league sources to Paul Millsap, arguably the most consequential free agent left. Yet while the 36-year-old former All-Star has drawn interest from the Warriors, Hawks, Nets, Pelicans, 76ers and Timberwolves, no team sources contacted by Bleacher Report indicated any contract agreement with Millsap has come close to the finish line.”
Perhaps best known around these parts as a longtime “Enemy of the Process” for making the 2017 All-Star game over a rookie Joel Embiid, Millsap is a four-time All-Star who has seen his minutes decline each of the past four seasons as he enters the back-half of his thirties (now 36). However, despite not being the player he once was, Millsap could still be a useful part of a Sixers roster. It’s no secret Philadelphia could use a stretch five off the bench, and Millsap has shot 34 percent or better from 3 each of the last four seasons. While not Curryian numbers, that’s at least respectable enough from a big man to enable a 5-out offense in small-ball lineups. Millsap also remains a disruptive defender, averaging right around his career per-36 averages last season at 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per 36 minutes.
A couple roadblocks do exist in potentially bringing the 6-foot-7 veteran to town. For starters, Philadelphia does not have an available roster spot. The Sixers do still have Anthony Tolliver on a non-guaranteed contract, but the expectation has been that the spot will go to second-round pick Charles Bassey when the two sides can come to terms.
Another is the price, as Fischer goes on to say in his article that Millsap is seeking more than the $3.5 million Denver has available below the tax line. If Millsap is not amenable to joining a club on a veteran’s minimum deal, the Sixers would either have to dip into the remaining portion of their taxpayer mid-level exception (currently $5.89 million after using $3.3 million towards Georges Niang, per Spotrac), or possibly work out some sort of sign-and-trade with Denver using the $8.2 million trade exception from the Al Horford trade. In both cases, Morey and company might determine that keeping those limited avenues of flexibility open down the road would be more beneficial than having Millsap.
Given those obstacles, it’s unlikely anything comes of this reported interest in Millsap, but it’s noteworthy that the Sixers front office is still poking around for ways to improve the edges of this roster. We’ll stay tuned to see if Morey has any minor moves to make in the weeks to come (or, you know, the BIG move we’ve all been waiting to hear about).