On July 2nd, the foregone conclusion that Paul Millsap would be headed to the Nuggets became a reality.
The Wolves’ signing of Taj Gibson all but guaranteed the reports that they had moved on from their desires to sign Millsap in free agency.
The multitude of reports of the Denver deal officially shut down any pipe dreams held by Minnesota fans. Millsap, a four-time All-Star, and 2015-16 all-defensive player, reportedly signed a three-year, $90 million deal with the Nuggets, including a team option in the final year.
The hallmarks of the 32-year-old power forward’s play include strong defense, excellent passing for his position, and the ability to create his own shot.
Possible downsides to signing Millsap include the question of how he ages alongside his near-max contract, though much of this is negated by the team option in the third year of the deal.
While reports lacked clarity regarding the interest in Millsap from the Timberwolves front office, any fan versed in his game could see the seemingly perfect fit for him in Minnesota.
For reasons unknown to the common fan, no agreement could be reached with the Millsap camp to bring him to Minnesota (assuming talks even occurred).
So…what does moving forward without Millsap mean for the Timberwolves?
The team, on the other hand, has a boatload of depth issues in the backcourt. The only guards and small forwards currently under contract are Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones, Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler.
Yes, signing Taj Gibson for $14 million per year puts the team in a precarious position, having a very limited (around $5 million) chunk of change plus the room exception to fill out the bench with powerful wings and three point shooters.
Yes, Paul Millsap would have pushed the Wolves forward with easily one of the most talented starting lineups, but at what cost would it have come?
What could he do exceptionally better than guys currently on the roster that would have likely found themselves in a new NBA home?
The value in adding a player of Paul Millsap’s talent is unquestionable. The real question lies in how much value and production are lost to facilitate a move of this magnitude.
Stay tuned for part two, the finale, where I will break it down by the numbers.