Paul Millsap. . . Jazz Nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
It is true that our ability to retain our best power forward took a big hit yesterday. However, it may be that all is not lost quite yet. If one believes the rumors printed in the Deseret News -- and I always do -- the new master plan is apparently to move Boozer as quickly as possible and try to sign Millsap for $10 million/year or less. This plan makes a ton of sense, since Millsap actually plays hard and is worth having on the team long-term, whereas Boozer doesn't/isn't.
The main problem is reality, and specifically salary cap reality. No matter what happens it looks like the Jazz are going to be in luxury tax land next year; it's now just a matter of how deep they go. If Greg Miller is anything like his old man, he's not going to want to wade out of the shallow end of that pool.
One thought: if the Jazz could move Boozer quickly for another (25% lower) expiring contract, they could give themselves a little bit of breathing room to resign Paul. They would still be over the cap this year, but would be in good shape next year in terms of players and contracts and could potentially work something out with Okur. As others have pointed out on TCG, Boozer at $12 million in a contract year is not a terrible thing, so other teams will probably be receptive.
One question: is it possible to structure a prorated contract with Millsap that is still $50 million over five years but doesn't kick in hard until next season? I.e. $3 million this year and then close to $12 million the next four?
One BIG problem: A lot of other teams are talking to Millsap already. No doubt he will get a qualifiying offer sheet from Oklahoma City or Detriot shortly, which will tie our hands even more. On the bright side, Millsap's uncle is representing him so anything is possible. Players without real agents (like John Stockton, represented by himself, or Ricky Davis, represented by Master P) tend not to do so well in the free agency process.