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Is Paul Millsap actually in a battle for the starting spot with Derrick Favors?

Sep 29, 2012, 8:00 PM EST

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

Paul Millsap is following the right path when it comes to his free agency next summer. He’s just not going to talk about it. Word has leaked that he won’t sign an extension and will instead pursue free agency, but other than that, he’s shut down any and all talk about it. Millsap clearly doesn’t want to deal with what other big-name players (albeit with bigger names than his) have dealt with in the least year of their contracts. But after a career year, the Salt Lake Tribunebrings us something kind of perplexing. Could Millsap’s future not only be impacted by his contract situation but by competition for his starting spot? From a feature with Millsap this week:

The lingering but unlikely possibility of a multiyear contract extension with the Jazz. An old-school, winner-take-all position battle with Derrick Favors, as the duo compete during training camp for the right to be named Utah’s starting power forward once the 2012-13 regular season begins. A looming entryway into free agency, which could allow Millsap to command the largest payday of his career next July.

via NBA: Utah Jazz’s Paul Millsap embraces biggest year of career | The Salt Lake Tribune.

Wait, what? Paul Millsap, a borderline All-Star last year (and the year before) is in a battle for the starting spot with Derrick Favors? When did this happen? But it’s not absolutely inconceivable. Favors has made huge strides the past two seasons since being traded from New Jersey. He’s versatile, super athletic, and brings tremendous energy.

Eric Freeman of Yahoo! Sports notes that Favors may pair better with Al Jefferson as a rebounder and interior player, especially defensively, which would allow Millsap to come off the bench a change of pace player. It’s not a bad idea in concept, but if you want a surefire way to make sure Millsap doesn’t return in free agency, taking away his starting gig to a younger, and inferior, player is a pretty good start.

Favors has a world of talent, but this is kind of the result of the stockpiling they did without ever clearing the logjam. The Jazz have to figure out who of Jefferson-Millsap-Favors-Kanter they’re going to keep and it’s not going to be easy or come with a simple solution.

  1. eugenesaxe - Sep 29, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Shouldn’t every player on every team have to earn his starting position? If he’s better than Favors, what’s the problem?

    • sellahh - Sep 29, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      Favors is taller and probably a better defender than Millsap, he would be good in the starting lineup with Al Jefferson’s defense.

  2. observingii - Sep 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    If Millsaps can’t make it as a starter for the Jazz, there are several places he can go where he the real jizz and will be most welcome.

  3. fanz928 - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    Jazz doesn’t want to give him away for nothing so likely a trade for him and jefferson while they still have value

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