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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
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/articleid/3382161/1/pictures/590521">Photo - Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap, left, goes to the basket in front of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kyle Weaver, right, in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap, left, goes to the basket in front of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kyle Weaver, right, in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Thunder officials late Tuesday night aimed to gauge Millsap's character and the 24-year-old's interest in coming to Oklahoma City. Millsap's camp was said to have questions about playing time with the Thunder and Millsap's potential role.

Additional playing time and a bigger role could ultimately be a key negotiating chip for the Thunder if Oklahoma City goes all in. Millsap is almost certainly stuck behind Boozer for as long as the two-time All-Star is on the roster. But among the options in Oklahoma City are moving Kevin Durant back to shooting guard and sliding Jeff Green to small forward to create a starting spot for Millsap.

Millsap's representatives are also interested in helping the Thunder maintain salary cap flexibility to remain in the best position to re-sign Durant and Green to contract extensions before the start of the 2010-11 season. Options could include a frontloaded contract and a more incentive-based deal.

But the biggest two questions that will become clear over the next few days are, how much the Thunder is willing to offer and will the Jazz ultimately match?

Millsap is coming off a career year, averaging 13.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 blocks in 76 games, including 38 as a starter.


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