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Nets, Paul Millsap working on a parting of ways; Steve Nash calls it ‘unfortunate’

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New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets Photo by David L. Nemec/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets and Paul Millsap are working on a deal that will end Millsap’s short run in Brooklyn, Shams Charania reports...

Minutes after the Shams tweet, Millsap tweeted this...

Just before Friday night’s game in San Antonio, Steve Nash was about the development. He confirmed the Shams report and added additional information.

“It was very recent. It was just an unfortunate situation. We think Paul’s been great, His spirit and the way he’s been a great teammate, and accepted a limited role so far has been difficult for him,” said Nash. “It’s not necessarily what I expected going into it, but it is very rarely what you expect.

“We’ll try to find a positive solution for Paul and we thank him for just the way he was when he was here without getting the playing time or the role he coveted. We’re disappointed it didn’t work out or work in a better way but we really respect him and admire the way he handled himself while he was here. We want to see him happy and playing somewhere.”

Neither Shams nor Nash provided details on which side initiated discussions, but YES Network reported Friday that Millsap had “requested” the move. There’s been no doubt Millsap has been unhappy with his lack of minutes. There’s been no indication whether the Nets will waive Millsap to sign elsewhere or move him in a minor trade. Millsap did not accompany the Nets on their current four-game road trip with the team citing “personal reasons” for his absence.

Nash did say it was a numbers game.

“You add it all up, there are five centers. I think it makes it difficult and for different reasons and different parts of the season, we pressed different buttons and although he did get some opportunities, he didn’t get a ton of opportunities.

“I feel that was unfortunate for Paul, and I understand. Just a difficult situation we didn’t foresee but here we are. Day’Ron and Nic have emerged, LA (LaMarcus Aldrdige) has had a great year and we know Blake’s been available the whole season and whether he’s playing very well or he’s struggling, we know what he brings. You add it all up, there’s not enough space for everybody.”

IF a roster spot opens up, it would seem likely the Nets will convert one of their two-way players — presumably Kessler Edwards — to a standard deal which would double his salary and make him eligible for the post-season. Edwards, taken at No. 44 in the 2021 NBA Draft, was recently ranked 15th in the ESPN’s mid-season rookie rankings. David Duke Jr. is the other two-way. The Nets would then be able to sign another player to a two-way.

Millsap, signed in August, has been stuck on the bench for a month, with eight DNP’s, some a coach’s decision, others because of COVID health and safety protocols. That stretch ending last Thursday when he played 19 minutes and scored eight points in a loss to the Thunder.

Overall, Millsap, who turns 37 in three weeks, has played in only 24 games, no starts; averaging 3.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per. Millsap signed a vets minimum deal that pays him $2.64 million, only $1.67 million of which is included on the Nets cap ... and luxury tax bill.

As Alex Schiffer reports, Millsap was having a difficult time adapting to his role.

“It’s tough,” Millsap said. “Obviously. You go in the game, you got five minutes to contribute right. Five minutes isn’t a long time on the basketball court, but you do the best that you can. And that’s all I try to do. Whatever minutes, whatever time that I’m given I try to put my skillset to use within that time frame but hopefully our team goes up, makes a run, something like that within that time. But other than that, when I’m not on the court, continue to support the other guys and continue to help them as much as possible.”

In his 15-year NBA career, Millsap was selected to the All-Star team four times as well as the All-Rookie Team and an All-Defensive team. He has played in more than 1,000 games, averaging 13.7 points and 7.2 rebounds on career shooting splits of 49/34/74.