Utah Jazz: Millsap's teammates happy he hit the jackpot
Jason Olson, Deseret News
Paul Millsap's recent bank-account-friendly news means he could be a Jazz opponent next season, and his current teammates know that.
But as far as his Jazz buddies are concerned, he's still one of their guys and that friendship aspect won't change no matter where he plays next year.
With that in mind, Millsap got a wide variety of reactions — including plenty of razzing — from fellow Jazz pals after they heard he'd signed an offer sheet from Portland on Friday that reportedly guarantees he'll be paid about $32 million over the next four years.
Deron Williams jokingly asked the power forward for a loan.
Ronnie Price told the double-double machine his aura was suddenly glowing.
And Kyle Korver gave him a high-five along with some congratulatory comments.
Though those reactions differed, the Jazz players — who were with Millsap at Williams' charity fundraising dinner for Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Research on Friday after Portland offered to throw boatloads of cash his way — had similar thoughts about his upcoming jackpot.
Simply put, they believe it couldn't have happened to a harder-working guy. Just the way it should happen.
They also, of course, hope before next Friday's deadline the Jazz will decide to match the Blazers' offer and keep Millsap in his No. 24 Utah uniform, which will be difficult because of potential luxury-tax implications.
"I think he's worth it," said Williams, whose own multi-year, mega-million deal kicks in this fall. "You look around the league at the other power forwards what they're getting paid, I think he's right up there with those guys. Like I said, I just hope he's back next year."
Korver was also excited for Millsap, who had a breakout season while filling in for and backing up Carlos Boozer.
"I say good for him. He's worked hard. He's deserved it," Korver said. "He had a great year last year. He's played well for the Jazz for several years now. I'm happy for him."
Korver said it's hard to stomach seeing guys get contracts based on their talent alone, so he's especially pleased because Millsap's big payday shows that it can pay to do things the old-fashioned way. He showed NBA teams they should show him the money by his hustle, not by shouting or showboating.
"Paul's a really good player," Korver added. "He's worked really hard."
Price, who's trying to work out his own deal with the Jazz, was also thrilled that his buddy struck it rich regardless of possible repercussions it could mean to his future with the franchise.
"I just told him yesterday he had a glow about him. I said, 'You look good,'" Price said Saturday at Williams' charity golf tournament. "...I'm happy for him — very, very happy for him. And he deserves every penny of it."
That, by the way, could be as many as 3.2 billion copper coins headed the direction of Millsap, who averaged career-bests of 13.5 points and 8.6 rebounds last year.
His teammates don't think Millsap will settle for the level of play he's reached now that he's hit his jackpot, either.
"He's worked hard enough and he will continue to work hard enough to become even better than that," Price said. "He's a outstanding player with a outstanding future. We'll be talking about Paul Millsap for years."
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