Report: Lakers were interested in trade for Paul Millsap

The Atlanta Hawks made news last week by trading shooting guard Kyle Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers. On the heels of rumors about the availability of Paul Millsap, it seemed to signify that Atlanta was going to emerge as a seller ahead of the trade deadline.

That may not necessarily be true anymore as The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that the Hawks are now informing teams that Millsap is no longer being shopped. Surprisingly, one of the teams informed about the change of plans was the Los Angeles Lakers:

Atlanta general manager Wes Wilcox started informing teams Monday afternoon that the Hawks were no longer working to unload Millsap, sources said. Millsap can be a free agent this summer, and multiple teams – including Denver, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers – had an interest in making a deal for him, sources said.

Denver and Sacramento’s interest for Millsap was well-known; the Nuggets reportedly had a deal in place with the Hawks over the summer. But the news of the Lakers being in the midst of the trade talk comes as a surprise.

The Lakers currently boast two young, talented power forwards in Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr., both of whom have proven worthy of keeping around and developing. Additionally, Millsap’s age and contract status (he is nearly 32 years old and will likely demand a max contract after opting out of his current deal this summer) do not match up with the Lakers’ timetable for competing.

If the Lakers were indeed interested in this trade, it would seem to signal a lack of patience in allowing the young core to develop more naturally. Los Angeles is only two games out of the playoffs after Sunday’s win over the Magic. Adding a player of Millsap’s caliber could secure the eighth seed but it would not necessarily push the team any higher.

That said, we do not know how serious these talks were or if they even existed. Woj is obviously a trusted reporter but it’s somewhat well-known that opposing general managers often use the Lakers as a leverage ploy, which may be what the Hawks are doing by reportedly taking Millsap’s name off the trade block.

Furthermore, this could just be a case of LA doing its due diligence. Millsap is a supremely talented and underrated player and the kind of building block that other free agents would want to play with. Theoretically, signing someone like Millsap could accelerate the Lakers’ rebuild. Whether that would be worthwhile considering the assets that have to be sent back and the age and salary concerns is an interesting discussion to say the least.

Nevertheless, this does not appear to have much traction for now. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on this (as well as other potential trades as the Lakers now appear willing to shake things up) between now and the trade deadline.

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