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Andre Miller Trade Rumors

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The rumors have been swirling, and we've been holding the discussion in the comments sections of multiple posts, so I thought now would be a good time to centralize the discussion, and for me to put my two cents in.

Andre Miller's name keeps coming up. The rumors range from absurd, to plausible. After the jump we'll take a look at the latest incarnation of the rumor and I'll talk about how I feel about moving our veteran PG.

First, let's take a look at what Miller is. According to John Hollinger's almighty PER rankings, he's the 10th best point guard in the league this season. I'm not sure why Jason Terry is on the list, considering he plays mostly shooting guard, and Jameer Nelson is ahead of him as well, so let's say he's the #8 point guard currently playing in the league, according to Hollinger.

In points per game, he's tied for #8, but again Terry is counted and shouldn't be and Jameer is ahead of him, so we'll say he's tied for #6 in scoring among active PGs. He's #13 in assists/game, #5 in rebounds/game, #12 in steals, #6 in field goal percentage, #10 in points per shot. By pretty much every measure, he's a top-ten point guard. By some measures, he's more than that.

Even if he was none of those things, however, he'd still be an extremely valuable commodity at the deadline, because his $10,333,333 contract expires at the end of the season.

Let's focus on the last part first. Here is a list of teams who could get significantly under the cap this summer if they were able to trade one of their longer contracts for Andre Miller's expiring contract. The numbers in parens are the total amount they have on their books against the cap heading into next season, how much they'd have if they acquired Miller for players with longer contracts of equal value. The salary cap was $58,680,000 for this season.

  • Atlanta ($48,220,363 / $37,887,030)
  • Chicago ($56,163,654 / $45,830,321)
  • Detroit ($41,957,541 / $31,624,208)
  • LA Clippers ($59,917,117 / $49,583,784)
  • Memphis ($41,096,586 / $30,763,253)
  • Miami ($51,394,668 / $41,061,335)
  • Minnesota ($53,825,953 / $43,492,620)
  • New Jersey ($59,932,625 / $49,599,292)
  • OKC Thunder ($39,940,388 / $29,607,055)
  • Portland ($58,758,154 / $48,424,821)

Of those teams, you can probably forget about Memphis and Oklahoma City. They're far enough under that cap already and they've got limited pieces that would interest the Sixers (beyond unprotected draft picks, which they won't part with). Atlanta only has cap space if they let Mike Bibby walk. They're also in the midst of a playoff run with Bibby at the helm, I don't see them making a move for Miller. Detroit would probably like to get rid of Iverson at this point, but the salaries don't match up unless they take back Dalembert or Green and Evans. I don't see a fit there.

That leaves Chicago, the Clippers, Miami, Minnesota, New Jersey and Portland. Miami has Chalmers, and they're probably happy with him as a long-term solution. Any deal with them would probably involve Marion, and is probably unlikely. Chicago could be a fit. If they've decided they want to push hard to re-sign Ben Gordon this Summer, a Miller for Hinrich deal would work perfectly. They're desperate to get rid of Larry Hughes, and they'd love to get Miller for him, but I just don't see any reason the Sixers would do that.

Which brings us to New Jersey. Could Vince Carter be had for Miller? My gut says yes. Willie + Miller for VC works against the cap. I don't think the Sixers would do this, however. At least I hope they wouldn't. Minnesota could trade Mike Miller for Andre, straight up. They'd be roughly $15M under the cap next Summer, plus they'd pick up a $1M trade exception. The Sixers would get a piece (assuming Miller bounces back from injury), but they'd be up against the luxury tax next season if they signed a PG replacement for the full MLE. We'll cover Portland in a second.

Now, the other value Miller has is as a top-ten PG. Who needs a guy like that for this season only? The criteria would be injury or just a lack of talent at the position and a shot at making the playoffs, at least. Here's the list I came up with:

  • Portland
  • Orlando
  • New York
  • Phoenix
  • Houston
Portland probably belongs more on this list than the other, especially when you take the recent rumors into account. They'd be building a package around Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract, so they wouldn't be gaining any cap space this summer. Portland, along with Orlando probably need Miller's services more than anyone. The Knicks could easily make a run at the #7 or #8 seed this season, and Miller would be an ideal fit in the D'Antoni system, although he might play a little too much defense. Houston could certainly use Miller at the point, I doubt they're thrilled with Rafer Alston's 36% shooting.

Phoenix is a wild card. They desperately need a backup for Steve Nash and they're equally desperate to get under the luxury tax threshold. This move would provide both for them.

That's my liberal list of potential Miller suitors. Now, let's talk about criteria. What do the Sixers need to get in return to make moving Miller worthwhile. Here's my list, in order of importance:

  1. An All-Star caliber player, regardless of position or length of contract.
  2. A key missing piece. Namely, a shooter who can play the two.
  3. A young point who has a better than average chance of blossoming into a long-term solution at the point for the Sixers.
  4. An expiring contract of equal or greater value than Miller's.
  5. Unprotected draft pick(s), which have a chance of being lottery picks.
  6. A package that allows the Sixers to rid themselves of bad contracts (Evans, Green and/or Dalembert)

Which brings us to the rumors. The latest, which came from the RealGM boards, via TK76 in the comments, goes as follows:

Sixers Give
  • Andre Miller
  • Reggie Evans
  • Kareem Rush
Sixers Get
  • Raef LaFrentz
  • Travis Outlaw
  • Sergio Rodriguez
  • Possible future draft pick(s)
For me, this isn't enough of a haul for the Sixers. Yes, they get LaFrentz back. Yes, they get rid of Evans' contract. But on the floor, this deal doesn't help them. Outlaw is a decent three-point shooter, but he's another 3 on a team with an overabundance of threes and not enough 2's. Sergio hasn't done anything to make me think he can take over as the starting point for this team in Miller's absence. Given the choice of making this deal or sticking with Miller, making the playoffs and rolling the dice that he'll walk at the end of the season, I'd choose the latter.

Any deal with Portland has to include Rudy Fernandez, in my opinion. Fernandez is far from a sure thing, but he is a shooting guard who can stick it from deep. He's athletic, and I believe his poor FG% will improve over time. Yes, Portland is in love with the guy, but you know what, when you're trading for quality, you have to give up quality. Here's a variation on the Portland deal that I'd find acceptable, and would meet the criteria I listed above, along with a couple of others with other teams that would work against the cap.

Sixers Give
  • Andre Miller
  • Willie Green
Sixers Get
  • Raef LaFrentz
  • Rudy Fernandez
  • Sergio Rodriguez

Sixers Give
  • Andre Miller
  • Thaddeus Young
  • Reggie Evans
Sixers Get
  • Amare Stoudemire

Sixers Give
  • Andre Miller
Sixers Get
  • Kirk Hinrich

Sixers Give
  • Andre Miller
Sixers Get
  • Mike Miller

Those are just a few of the deals I could come up with in which the return would be acceptable, and the deal would possibly meet the other team's needs as well. Poke holes, pick them apart and come up with your own ideas in the comments.
by Brian on Feb 4 2009
Tags: Andre Miller | Basketball | Sixers | Trades Rumors |