Utah Jazz: Two suitors for Millsap?

Published July 1, 2009 9:15 pm
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Only a day into free agency, Paul Millsap 's options appeared to narrow to two suitors in the Jazz and Oklahoma City, while Millsap's agent, DeAngelo Simmons , couldn't be sure how long it would take for either to make an offer.

Simmons said he'd researched Wednesday how long it had taken previous restricted free agents to reach agreements in the past. The answers varied, from a matter of days to a matter of weeks to sometimes more than a month.

"It's going to be time-consuming and it's going to take a minute or two," said Simmons, who had not had a second conversation with Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor as of late Wednesday afternoon. "All we can do is be prepared for the worst-case scenario."

A handful of teams have the salary-cap space to offer Millsap a contract worth more than the league-wide midlevel exception, but three of those teams appear to have identified other players as their top priorities.

Detroit reached agreement with Ben Gordon on a reported five-year, $55 million contract and with Charlie Villanueva on a five-year, $35 million deal. Portland coach Nate McMillan , meanwhile, flew to Orlando, Fla., to meet with Hedo Turkoglu .

Most significant from Millsap's perspective, Memphis acquired Zach Randolph , a power forward from the Clippers in a trade.

That would leave only Oklahoma City and the Jazz for Millsap, with the Jazz capable of matching any offer from the Thunder. They did just that a year ago when Oklahoma City signed C.J. Miles to a four-year, $14.8 million offer sheet.

The Thunder have approximately $11 million in cap space, but must also be payroll conscious with Kevin Durant and Jeff Green both in line for contract extensions next summer, followed by Russell Westbroo k in 2011.

One prominent agent was skeptical Wednesday that Oklahoma City would blow away the Jazz with their offer to Millsap, calling Thunder general manager Sam Presti "about the most conservative guy there is" in the NBA. The Thunder contacted Millsap about a half-hour after the start of free agency Tuesday night, The Oklahoman reported. They might attempt to frontload a contract or fatten it with incentives, given their future salary commitments, the report added.

Simmons, meanwhile, said he planned to back off making future public comments, adding, "I can't project anything as far as offers or anything further."


There was no word from Mike Higgins , the agent for Ronnie Price , about the Jazz's interest in re-signing the point guard. ... Morris Almond , the Jazz's 2007 first-round draft pick, will play with New York's summer-league team. ... Eric Maynor signed his rookie contract ahead of the start of summer-league practice. The first two years are worth a guaranteed $2.7 million, with the Jazz holding third- and fourth-year options.

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