On Tuesday morning during his end-of-the-year press conference, Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly stated that the Nuggets “fully expect” Paul Millsap to be back next season.
“Our goal and Paul’s goal is to have him back with us and I think when both who have the same goal and they both have a lot of respect for each other, I’m pretty confident that will happen. I’m having dinner with Paul very soon, He’s got a fantastic agent, DeAngelo (Simmons). We’ll catch up, but we both want the same thing. We’ll figure out the best way for the organization and Paul to make sure that is achieved. So, I fully expect Paul to be back in a Nuggets uniform.”
Millsap is entering the third year of his deal with the Nuggets, which could pay him $30 million if Denver picks up that team option. The ball is essentially in the Nuggets court as they could either pick up the option and pay Millsap that amount, or decline the deal — making him a free agent — and negotiate a more team-friendly contract.
For Millsap, all signs point to him wanting to stay in Denver, which he touched on during his exit interview last week.
“I don’t know, I can go to the Golden State Warriors, I don’t know (laughs),” Millsap said when asked if the Nuggets are the team that gives him the best odds to win a title. “Look, from how I want to do it and how I want my story to be told, it’s definitely the group that can help do it. That’s definitely a dream and a goal of mine and I think its the goal for everybody else; especially younger guys. They see guys winning championships and they see teams winning and they want to be a part of that and they want to be in that category. I see the drive on these guys faces and I know that they have the same goal and mentality to get there. This organization do too and I feel comfortable with that.”
The comfortability and respect that the Nuggets organization and Millsap hold for each other is evident in their comments, which makes it an almost no-brainer to expect him back in Denver next season.
After his first year in Denver was cut short due to injury (38 games), Millsap bounced back in 2018 providing the Nuggets a veteran presence that was so critical in their postseason run. Millsap averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in the postseason and played a massive role in Denver almost making it back to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 10 years. Over 70 regular season games this season, Millsap averaged 12.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and two assists to go with 1.2 steals per game while shooting 48.4% from the field and 36.5% from three-point range.