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Thunder enters preliminary talks with Utah's Paul Millsap

DARNELL MAYBERRY Modified: July 3, 2009 at 12:20 am •  Published: July 1, 2009

The Thunder has reached out to representatives for Paul Millsap, the Utah Jazz restricted free agent forward, according to a source with knowledge of negotiations.

Oklahoma City entered into preliminary talks with Millsap's camp about 30 minutes into the start of free agency late Tuesday night. Teams were permitted to begin negotiating with free agents at 11 p.m. Central Time.

Jazz officials were the first to call Millsap's agent, DeAngelo Simmons, but the Thunder was second in line shortly after Utah general manager Kevin O'Connor ignited talks of re-signing the 6-foot-8 Millsap.

Early discussions between the Thunder and Millsap's representatives have been described as positive, but there is nothing concrete between the two sides. A follow-up conversation could take place later Wednesday.

The Thunder is one of over a half dozen teams that have shown interest in Millsap in the opening hours of free agency, including a handful of teams that weren't expected to make a run at him because of a lack of salary cap space.

Oklahoma City could sign Millsap to an offer sheet in the coming days, but the Jazz would have the right to match any offer to retain him.

Utah is believed to indeed be interested in matching any offer to retain Millsap despite currently having more than $72 million tied up in player's salary, a figure that already is above the luxury tax threshold, which is expected to decrease for next season.

But Utah could match any offer for Millsap as insurance for starting power forward Carlos Boozer, who decided to not opt out of the final year of his contract but could eventually be traded to clear salary and playing time for Millsap.

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