NBA Trade Rumors: Jazz Should Deal Paul Millsap If He Won't Agree to Extension

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 6, 2012

May 7, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) is defended by San Antonio Spurs power forward Matt Bonner (15) during the first half of game four in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

With both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap set to become free agents at the end of the 2012-2013 season, the Utah Jazz are attempting to preserve the future of their frontcourt. 

According to Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz have offered Millsap a contract extension, one that he won't be likely to accept: 

The sturdy six-year veteran was offered a three-year extension worth about $25 million, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned, which is the maximum extension Millsap can receive under the new collective bargaining agreement. The proposed deal features an annual 7.5 percent raise, would kick in after Millsap’s current contract expires June 2013, and could keep the career Jazzman in a Utah uniform through June 2016.

Initial indications are Millsap won’t agree to the extension, though, preferring to enter free agency in 2013 with plans to cash in on an inflated 2012 market that saw mid-tier forwards such as Gerald Wallace, Andrei Kirilenko, Nicolas Batum and Ryan Anderson recently receive lucrative multiyear contracts.

The Jazz should continue to wine and dine their stud power forward, but if all indications point towards him entering free agency with no allegiance to the team that unearthed him in the second round of the 2006 NBA draft, they need to start shopping him. 

When you're a team on the brink of the playoffs, it's always better to take a step backwards in hopes of taking a massive leap forwards. 

In the case of the Jazz, they have virtually no shot at advancing through the postseason in a brutally difficult Western Conference. They might not even make the playoffs at all. 

Losing Millsap for any part of the next season wouldn't do anything but give the Jazz a better pick in a solid 2013 NBA draft and help them add one more key contributor. Moving up even one spot could help the team uncover the next big superstar in this league.

Additionally, a move would allow the frontcourt of the future to get started in the present.

The Jazz have two incredibly solid backup big men in the forms of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, both recent third-overall selections in the draft.

Their ascents up the NBA ladder have been slowed greatly by the Jazz depth chart. It's awfully difficult to work past either Millsap or Al Jefferson.

It seems likely that either Millsap, Jefferson or both will be gone after next summer, when each has the opportunity to pursue more money in free agency. Why not just go ahead and give Favors and Kanter a head start here?

Signing Millsap to an extension would be the ideal result of this scenario because he's one of the best and underrated—albeit undersized—frontcourt players in The Association.

However, if he won't sign one, the Jazz should bite the bullet and start to see if they can get something for him now instead of nothing for him in free agency.