Utah Jazz: Miles warned Millsap about the long wait

Published: Monday, July 13 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Paul Millsap has been warned.

C.J. Miles delivered the counsel, because he knows.

"I told him it was going to be the longest seven days of his life," Miles said of the waiting period for Millsap, who will learn by the end of this week if the Jazz will match the four-year, $32 million offer sheet — replete with $10.3 million payable up front — that he signed Friday with the Portland Trail Blazers.

"He asked about it," added Miles, the Jazz small forward who waited several days last summer before learning that Utah had matched the offer sheet he signed then with Oklahoma City. "I said, 'Man, all you can do is just wait. I mean, try to just find something to do to take your mind off it.' "

Golf. Tennis. Shop 'til you drop.

Or maybe Millsap, the Jazz's backup power forward and a restricted free agent, will ponder further if even wants Utah to match.

He's told teammates he wants to stay, but his representatives suggest otherwise.

"He still has a little despair, still is a little bit disappointed about the situation," said Millsap's uncle and rep, DeAngelo Simmons. "Because (the Jazz) really played hardball, and he wasn't paid attention to.

"To not set a value on their player and let someone else do it," Simmons added, "is questionable."

Despite initially suggesting they would make a contract proposal when the NBA's summer negotiating period opened late last month, the Jazz — perhaps altering course because starting power forward Carlos Boozer decided earlier that same day to opt in for the final year and last $12.65 million on his current contract — instead encouraged Millsap's camp to first seek the best deal they could find in the league's soft free-agency shopping market.

No offers came for more than a week — from Utah, or any other team — and for that Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor makes no apologies.

"I didn't want to bid against ourselves," he said.

The Jazz, according to Millsap's reps, later said no offer would be forthcoming until other similarly skilled free agents — including Shawn Marion, who went from Toronto to Dallas as part of a multi-team sign-and-trade, and Cleveland's Anderson Varejao, who re-signed with the Cavaliers — established their true value.

Millsap's side didn't appreciate the wait.

"Shawn Marion never rebounded for you. Varejao never sprawled on the floor for you. They never took a charge for you," Simmons said. "Why let those guys set the market for you?"

Marion, as it turns out, will make about $38.9 million over five years, according to ESPN.com.

Varejao's deal, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is guaranteed at $42.5 million if he plays five years or $48 million if he goes six, which tough-to-attain incentives that could push total value to $50 million.

That's average salary, in other words, close to what Millsap wound up getting.

But the Jazz, meanwhile, weren't about to be swayed by even those numbers.

Late last week they did supposedly offer a multiyear deal in the range of $7 million per season, with the possibility of going to $7.5 million over three years — but only after catching wind that Portland was preparing a generous offer.

When the Blazers proposed an average of $8 million over four years with so much money up front, then, Millsap reached for the closest pen.

So now the Jazz are left to check under couch cushions, pass the hat and search for a taker for Boozer via trade as they try to figure out how in the world they can scrape up $10.3 million in the next two weeks.

And for that Simmons makes no apologies.

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