Budenholzer: Hawks 'incredibly optimistic' about re-signing Millsap

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The Atlanta Hawks have already shed four of the starters from their magical 2014-15 season, and they're approaching a crossroads with the fifth.

Paul Millsap has acknowledged that he will likely opt out of his contract this summer, and though he was fairly vague about his free-agency plans after his team's elimination loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday, Hawks president and head coach Mike Budenholzer is hopeful and confident he'll be back.

"You always want to hope for the best," Budenholzer told reporters in his exit interview Saturday, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Without a doubt what is best for us is to keep Paul. We've got to do everything we can to make that happen. I think that is our intention. Free agency is not an easy thing for the player or for the organization. There are a lot of things that go into it. We are incredibly optimistic and incredibly committed to Paul."

The Hawks briefly put Millsap on the trade market midway through the season, after they traded Kyle Korver and seemed intent on blowing things up to start a rebuild in earnest. But an overwhelming offer never materialized, and Millsap and Budenholzer sat down to discuss the situation, both emerging with a renewed commitment to their partnership.

Budenholzer reaffirmed that on Saturday, listing Millsap - as well as restricted free-agent guard Tim Hardaway Jr. - among the team's three offseason priorities.

Millsap, for his part, said Saturday that he'd like to be back, though he hedged a bit when asked if anything would prevent him from re-signing.

"I don't know," he said, according to Vivlamore. "It's something me and my agent and my family have to sit down and talk about. The decisions I make with my career is not just about me. It doesn't affect just me. I'll talk to my family and see what happens.

"But knowing these guys, knowing the organization, I know they want to head in the right direction. They want to get the best available. They want the franchise to win. I believe that without even having a meeting with them. I know the direction they want to go."

Budenholzer: Hawks 'incredibly optimistic' about re-signing Millsap
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