General manager Kevin O'Connor has said the Jazz will make a contract offer to their own restricted free agent power forward, Paul Millsap, as soon as the NBA's summer negotiating period opens at 10 p.m. Tuesday.
According to his representative, however, Millsap will be seeking a deal equal to, if not more than, the sort of money New York Knicks restricted free agent David Lee desires — reportedly a multi-year deal starting at $10 million per season.
Without discussing money, O'Connor suggested he's confident Utah can re-sign Millsap before he even considers signing an offer sheet with another team — one that, if he did sign it, the Jazz would have the right to match.
"He's expressed to us," O'Connor said, "that he likes it here, that he appreciates the fact that he's gotten an opportunity."
Whether the Jazz will offer Millsap anything remotely close to Lee-like money, however, remains uncertain.
While it's likely one or more teams will offer full mid-level money — a multi-year starting somewhere in excess of $5 million per season — it's unknown if a potential suitor like Detroit would come in with an offer starting at $6 million, $7 million, $8 million or perhaps even more.
Still, Millsap's rep and uncle — DeAngelo Simmons — feels his nephew is more than worth the big bucks.
"If I was a GM, and I looked at the numbers the kid produced and the fact he was in the running for Most Improved Player (finishing fourth this year) and knowing he made my team better," Simmons said, "I wouldn't hesitate.
Because you're getting a quality player. Who wouldn't want a guy like that?"
Simmons compared Millsap's versatility to that of Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko.
"He defends, he blocks shots, he rebounds, he scores, he assists, he hustles," Simmons said. "Any time you've got guys that can do that, you've got to play close attention. ... Any time you have a player like Kirilenko who can do five or six of those things, he's working."
Millsap averaged 13.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.9 blocks per game this season, and 16.0 points, 10.3 boards and 1.2 steals in 38 games as a starter.
The 2006 second-round draft choice from Louisiana Tech also enjoyed one stretch with 19 straight double-doubles.
"I think he's got enough skill that a lot of teams will jump on it," Simmons said. "I think there is going to be a lot of interest."
PRICE RIGHT FOR KORVER: Coach Jerry Sloan hinted Thursday that the Jazz plan to have guard Ronnie Price, who'll be an unrestricted free agent later this week, back next season.
O'Connor, meanwhile, may have shed some light on just how the Jazz feel about prospective free agent Kyle Korver when — in discussing how Philadelphia worked to clear team payroll salary cap space so it could sign Elton Brand last offseason — he said this about the Jazz's acquisition of its backup shooting guard from the 76ers:"We got a very good player for not a very expensive price."
If he doesn't opt of the final year of his current deal with the Jazz, Korver — acquired for shooting guard Gordan Giricek and a future first-round draft pick that Philly later traded to Minnesota — will make $5,163,636 next season.
ROSTER ROOM: O'Connor said it's possible the Jazz would start the season with three young bigs: Kyrylo Fesenko, Kosta Koufos and Thursday's second-round draft choice, Goran Suton.
"Because with Fes (Fesenko), he's in the last year of his deal," O'Connor said.
Fesenko is a low-post player, but — like Koufos — Suton is more of a high-post big.
A VISION: O'Connor also said he could first-round pick Eric Maynor playing alongside starting point guard Deron Williams at times in a smaller Jazz backcourt, a la Jason Kidd and Jason Terry in Dallas.
BY THE NUMBERS: Maynor will wear No. 3 and Suton, if he makes the team, will wear No. 11.
Previous owners of No. 3: Bryon Russell, Kirk Snyder, Milt Palacio and Jason Hart. Nine others have worn No. 11 for the Jazz, including Delaney Rudd, Jacque Vaughn, Sasha Pavlovic and Dee Brown.
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