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Andre Miller's Disappearing Leverage

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Thank you, Joe Dumars. While I firmly believe the two free agent signing Dumars made yesterday will cripple his team, there's another reason to be thankful for his decisive action on the free agent market. He took one bullet out of Andre Miller's gun.

Reports indicate Miller is asking for a contract worth about $30M for 3 years. The Sixers are willing to offer 2 years, maybe $16M. Here's the sad fact for Miller, if Hedo Turkoglu signs in Portland, Miller's leverage is effectively reduced to nil. Perhaps Toronto could renounce a couple of contracts and clear enough money to pay Miller's asking price, but that's doubtful, especially with Jose Calderon in place. Sacramento may be willing to pay Miller, but they don't have that kind of cap space either, and I don't think they suffer any illusions that they have a window in the next three years or so. Miller to Sacto just doesn't make sense.

Memphis ate up most of their cap space in the Zach Randolph trade and Oklahoma City is primed to use theirs on a young player, like Paul Millsap. To put it bluntly, Andre Miller will be screwed if/when Portland uses up its cap space on Hedo Turkoglu.

Look at it this way, any other team who wants his services will have two choices - 1. Offer him the MLE, 2. Work out a sign and trade with the Sixers. A three-year, full MLE deal will be worth about $18M, maybe a little more. For a sign-and-trade, Miller needs the Sixers to agree. Here's the question, is 2 years, $16M preferable to 3 years, $18M? You'd have to think so, wouldn't you?

If you're feeling inpatient and want the Sixers to do something big, just think about this situation for a couple of minutes. The more time passes, the more the leverage shifts to the Sixers. Pretty soon, teams will even start using their MLE on other players. The list of teams who could potentially offer Miller a contract will shrink, and he's going to have to either take less than the Sixers offered to play elsewhere, crumble and take the Sixers' offer, or beg the Sixers to work out a sign-and-trade, which they may or may not be willing to do. Any way you slice it, though, the Sixers are in the driver's seat in these negotiations. Eventually, Miller is going to need them a lot more than they need him.

Things could shift in the other direction if Kidd, Bibby and Sessions find homes elsewhere, but even then, I'm not 100% convinced the Sixers believe they need to add one of the starter-level points this Summer. They may very well just go with a vet minimum guy to join the PG rotation.
by Brian on Jul 2 2009
Tags: Andre Miller | Basketball | Offseason | Sixers |