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Trade Rumor: Lakers show interest in Hawks’ Millsap

Let’s define “interest”.

Atlanta Hawks v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

‘Tis the season for trade rumors and reports, and it simply wouldn’t be the same if the Los Angeles Lakers weren’t involved, even if it is to hopefully drive up the price for other teams. In the latest chapter of this phenomenon, the Atlanta Hawks, who just gave away Kyle Korver, are trying to avoid doing so again with Paul Millsap.

Mitch Kupchak has repeatedly maintained the stance that he isn’t all that interested in breaking up this young core. Yes, he technically has to either pick up the phone to call about someone as talented as Millsap or answer in case a GM offers such a player, but it simply doesn’t sound like Kupchak is ready to make such a move.

Here’s how Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical put it (with a hat-tip to the Lakers Outsiders):

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.

“Interest” is an incredibly ambiguous term. It can be used for practically anything, but this move doesn’t make sense for either side. Millsap has a player option he’ll almost definitely turn down for a longer-term deal that, frankly, the Lakers shouldn’t be all that interested in. He’s already 31 and simply doesn’t match their timeline. For the Hawks, any move that doesn’t include one of the Lakers’ young pieces is miles worse than they can probably get on the now fairly open market.

Now, this tidbit comes in the midst of Woj reporting that the Hawks are pulling Millsap off the market and feels a whole lot they’re trying to drive up offers that, thus far, have not been anywhere near to their liking. There are few more effective ways to offer the illusion of leverage than by linking a player to the Lakers, and this feels a lot like that.

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