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It's Not Lame, it's the 10 Days of Christmas - On the 8th day of Christmas...

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via <a href="http://www.nba.com/media/jazz/rawwpap0708_millsap.jpg">www.nba.com</a>
via www.nba.com

...the Utah Jazz gave to me... Millsap's "toxic" contract

The Jazz made it very clear that they were going to re-sign Millsap no matter if it would cause them to go into luxury tax territory. What should have been a relatively easy process turned into somewhat of a soap opera.

A lot of that drama came because of third parties.

The first source came when Millsap's uncle and agent, DeAngelo Simmon, took on a partner in Ara Vartanian. There were claims that the Jazz weren't offering Millsap a "fair" deal. The two sides couldn't get a deal worked out. So being a restricted free agent, the Jazz decided to let the market set his price.

And what may be a glimpse into what Kevin O'Connor and the rest of the FO might have had to deal with, we had this quote from Vartanian about Millsap,

"Paul Millsap has got more game than anyone knows,'' said agent Ara Vartanian, who represents Millsap. "People just haven't seen it because he played in a structured offense (in Utah). But he can shoot, and I'm talking (range from) NBA three.''

I know it's the agent's responsibility to get the most value for their client, and we all love Millsap, but saying that he has NBA three-point range is absurd.

Though Millsap's agents were contacted by many teams, not many had the cap room to sign him. Those that did have cap room weren't rumored to have been making an offer. There was some rumblings that the Thunder might use their cap space to sign Millsap. But once the Thunder stated that they had no interest in signing him, it looked like the Jazz were going to be able to get Paul on the cheap.

That's where the second round of drama comes in. See, the Blazers had gobs of cap space, not to mention a salary cap exception.

They were on the verge of signing Hedo Turkoglu when he backed out at the last minute and ended up signing with the Raptors instead.

That left a little egg on the Blazer's face. Feeling like they had to do something with the cap room, they turned their focus to Paul.

They promised to offer a "toxic" contract offer to Millsap, one that would hurt the Jazz financially should they match. It became apparent that the Blazers didn't want so much to land Millsap as they wanted to strong-arm Utah into a three-way trade with Chicago or another team that would have landed Portland a point guard.

So regardless of what happened, the Blazers would benefit by either getting Millsap, getting a PG, or at the least, doing some financial damage to a division rival.

When the Jazz didn't give in to that, the Blazers made their "toxic" offer to Millsap which included a front-loaded max bonus of $10M. As has been stated here before, the remainder of Millsap's 4-year, $32M deal is actually pretty reasonable.

What's hypocritical about that whole situation is that just earlier this year, Portland got worked up about someone signing Darius Miles just to stick it to Portland. You see, they had a salary exception because they had Miles retire due to injury. But if he played in 10 games, that $9M they were saving would be put back on their salary total. They threatened to sue anyone:

The Portland Trail Blazers are aware that certain teams may be contemplating signing Darius Miles to a contract for the purpose of adversely impacting the Portland Trail Blazers Salary Cap and tax positions. Such conduct from a team would violate its fiduciary duty as an NBA joint venturer. In addition, persons or entities involved in such conduct may be individually liable to the Portland Trail Blazers for tortuously interfering with the Portland Trail Blazers' contract rights and perspective economic opportunities.


From what we learned Saturday, though, Millsap never visited Portland, never spoke on the phone with GM Kevin Pritchard or coach Nate McMillan and didn't get a July 1 call, raising the question of just how interested Portland was in actually having him.
Doesn't sound like they really ever wanted Paul.

What's done is done though and Millsap is still a Jazz man. He's still having to play behind Boozer this season. He's having a career year in FG% and FT% but is 0-2 from three-point land. Shocking.