Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz has been rumored to be going to several different destinations before the NBA's Feb. 21 trade deadline, so it would be smart for some of the top contenders in the league to pull the trigger as soon as possible.
Millsap is a rock-solid player for the Jazz and could be a huge boost to any team he joins. For the season, Millsap is averaging 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.
The 28-year-old might be a bit undersized for his true position, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a solid interior defender and a consistent rebounder.
The only risk in trading for Millsap is that he's a free agent after the 2012-13 season, but a winning team should have a great chance to retain him if they have the money to do so. Even if it can't, Millsap could be the piece that puts a team over the top as a title contender.
Let's take a look at some squads who could use Millsap's services.
The Knicks have seen their long list of solid interior defenders dwindle down to nothing during this season thanks to the injuries to Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby. That was to be expected, however, because the Knicks have an old team.
The addition of Millsap would give the Knicks some much-needed frontcourt depth and youth for the remainder of the season, and Millsap could make a serious impact as a defender and rebounder.
One of New York's biggest problems has been rebounding. The Knicks are No. 22 in the NBA in rebounds per game (41.1), so Millsap would be an instant upgrade in that department.
Furthermore, the Knicks could insert Millsap into the starting lineup in order to allow Carmelo Anthony to move back to the small forward position. Such a switch would ensure that 'Melo won't have to suffer wear and tear as he battles with some of the bigger bodies in the NBA down low.
In order to make any deal work, it will likely involve second-year guard Iman Shumpert. Even if that's the case, the Knicks will have to find a way to make the money situation work since they can't absorb Millsap's contract straight up without sending some money Utah's way.
After a successful regular season campaign and a disappointing finish in the playoffs during the 2011-12 season, the Spurs will no doubt look to make a change on the same roster they came up short with last season.
The Spurs are ranked No. 25 in the NBA in rebounds per game (40.9), which is an area that Millsap would bolster immediately. Also, the Spurs are an aging group, so adding Millsap would give the team an infusion of youth and talent all in one move.
When the playoffs come, Millsap can be tasked with guarding a stud like Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder or any other big man head coach Gregg Popovich desires.
Not to mention, San Antonio could slide Duncan to the center position full time and have him play alongside Millsap in what would be a more than formidable frontcourt.
It remains to be seen if the Spurs actually have the necessary pieces to land Millsap in a trade, but if they do then they should make the move. Tim Duncan won't be around forever and Millsap could be the answer to replace him after the Hall of Famer calls it a career.
Los Angeles isn't a good rebounding team by any stretch. The Clippers are right in the middle of the pack, ranking No. 17 in the NBA in rebounds per game (41.9).
Millsap's seven-plus rebounds per game (7.4) would be an instant upgrade on the Clips and would make him the second-leading rebounder on the team the day he puts on the jersey.
Behind the likes of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, Millsap would give the Clippers championship-type depth in their frontcourt and could help take some of the burden off both player's shoulders on the defensive end.
A deal involving Millsap for L.A.'s Eric Bledsoe is already being discussed (per Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com).
Granted, letting go of a young, talented point guard might not be easy for the Clippers to do, but it is absolutely necessary if this team wants to be ready to hang with the big boys in the Western Conference.
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