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For me, option #1 this offseason for the Sixers is Elton Brand. Option 1A is Josh Smith. After going through the shooters who are available, or may become available this Summer, Mike Miller has officially become option 1B. Here's why:

Miller is a pure shooter, his 40.3% career mark from three is excellent, and he's topping it this season (43.3%). Playing on a horrible Memphis team, completely bereft of talent, you'd expect Miller to be heaving shots left and right, but he hasn't. This season he's averaging only 11.8 shots per game, so he isn't a gunner by nature. For comparison, Willie Green averages 11.6 shots per game, in 9 fewer minutes. He's an excellent rebounder from the SG position, averaging 6.7 per game this year. He's 6'8" which is exceptional size for the position.

His defense leaves something to be desired, but I think they can make up for with the other guys on the floor. It's not like Willie Green is a plus defender, and Miller's offensive efficiency and rebounding should more than make up for getting beat on the perimeter like a drum by the better SGs in the league.

Under this scenario, this is what the starting lineup would look like:

PG: Andre Miller, 6'2"
SG: Mike Miller, 6'8"
SF: Andre Iguodala, 6'6"
PF: Thaddeus Young, 6'8"
C: Samuel Dalembert, 6'11"

Playing Thad out of position is not the ideal, but the good thing about this plan is that it gives the Sixers a ton of flexibility, both next year and down the road. First of all, Miller's contract would leave the Sixers with some cap space, between $1M and $3M plus any players included in the trade. If Carney (who Memphis has been rumored to have interest in) was included, the Sixers would have maybe as much as $5M left in cap space, enough to make another move.

While this would be the starting lineup, Mo would be free to juggle things with his subs. Jason Smith and Reggie Evans coming off the bench could allow for Thad to see 10-15 minutes/game at the 3 with Iguodala shifting to the 2 or resting.

I truly believe this would give the Sixers a huge upgrade in the area they need to upgrade the most, half court offense. Miller would provide two vital things to this offense which they sorely lack when teams cut off their running game, a natural mismatch and a guy who can spread the floor.

Would this upgrade be enough to catapult the Sixers into contention in the Eastern conference? Maybe. It looks like a stretch at this point, but it would depend on the growth of Andre Iguodala, Thad Young, Jason Smith and Lou Williams. They'd certainly be an upgrade over this year's squad.

The beauty of this move doesn't really come into play next year, however. It comes into play after the next two seasons. If this was the only move the Sixers made, and they added Miller's contract they'd be in excellent position not only after next season, but the year after as well. In the Summer of '09 Andre Miller's $10M will come off the books. Depending on how much it costs to re-sign Iguodala and Lou Williams this Summer, the Sixers would still be under the cap. The following year, Mike Miller's $9.75M would come off the books, and the Sixers would also be much more likely to move the contracts of Willie Green and Reggie Evans, both would expire at the end of that season. Again, they'd be under the cap.

Trading for Miller would give the Sixers a legitimate upgrade for '08-'09. It should help them continue their upward trend through the Eastern conference. Then they could reassess after the season and they'd have the flexibility to make another impact move with their cap space and Mike Miller's favorable contract to trade. The following year they'd have cap space and Willie Green and Reggie Evans' favorable contracts. The point being, they aren't locked into anything. If they bring Miller in and he isn't enough of an upgrade they have outs. They have options. Signing Elton Brand, Josh Smith, Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison or trading for Zach Randolph or Jermaine O'Neal would be more of an all-or-nothing bet.

Maybe Miller shouldn't be option 1B at all. Maybe he should be option 1. Thoughts?
by Brian on Apr 7 2008
Tags: Basketball | Mike Miller | Offseason | Sixers | Trades |