Thankfully, we won't have to listen to any more Andre Miller trade rumors after 3 p.m. today. Either he'll be here for the playoff run, or he won't.
However, I wouldn't be doing my job (OK, hobby) as a Sixers blogger if I didn't at least explore the possibilities. Before we get started, let me state for the record that I don't think Miller is going anywhere. Mo Cheeks was extended yesterday, the Sixers had a huge win in front of a pretty big crowd last night. I think Ed Stefanski sees the progress the team is making, realizes they may be just a player or two away from making some noise in the Eastern Conference with Miller next season and won't do anything major before the deadline passes unless someone makes an offer that's over the top in favor of the Sixers.
That being said, here's my list of teams who could really use Miller for the playoff run.
- Cleveland - They need him more than anyone, but they have zero pieces to make a trade work. Daniel Gibson is the only player on their roster outside of LeBron who would give the Sixers any kind of an upgrade and they don't have the expiring contracts to couple with Gibson to make a deal work.
- Orlando - The Magic are a step below the Pistons and Celtics, and I think a veteran PG who can score and distribute could push them up into that elite level. They do have a couple of interesting pieces, I'll get into possible packages after the jump.
- Denver - The Nuggets are in a dogfight with the Warriors for the 8th and final spot in the playoffs in the West. Starting Miller and Iverson in the same backcourt would work well, with Miller guarding opposing 2's and sliding Iverson over to match up with the point. George Karl loves Miller, and knows his offense would be even more potent with Andre running it. A deal could work, see more after the jump.
- Houston - Rafer Alston, Mike James, Luther Head and Steve Francis are not legitimate options at the point. A team with McGrady and Yao could sure use a leader at the point who can get each of them the ball where they need it, when they need it. Unfortunately, they don't have the pieces to make a deal happen.
Check after the jump for possible permutations of a deal for Andre Miller.
Here's a deal that would work out, cap-wise. This is also a deal that has a shot of keeping the Sixers good enough to hold onto the #8 seed this season, or possibly moving up if the acquired players pan out.Sixers give:
- Andre Miller
- $9.6M in '08
- $9.99M in '09
- Carlos Arroyo
- Pat Garrity
- J.J. Reddick
- $2.0M in '08
- $2.1M team option in '09
- $2.8M team option in '10
- $3.8M qualifying offer in '11
- Future 1st-round pick
: The Sixers can plug Arroyo in as their starting point, or have him split time with Lou Wiliams. He isn't going to score much, but he doesn't turn the ball over and he's good at pushing the ball. Garrity is a career 40% shooter from three who is buried behind two other PF/SF combos who can also shoot the three, he's getting zero minutes. Reddick is the wild card here. He has gotten zero playing time in Orlando, but there's still a chance he could be a deadly shooter from distance. The Sixers could give him a chance to show what he can do in the last 27 games of the season, if he can light it up, he stretches the floor and splits time with Willie Green at the two.Long Term:
This deal would give the Sixers another #1 pick, albeit a pick in the late teens, early twenties most likely. More importantly, it would free up another $8M-$10M in cap space this Summer. Effectively, the Sixers could out-bid any team for a restricted free agent, or at least make it extremely hard for a team to match their offer, if the guy they target is available. The only long term piece involved in this deal is Reddick. If he pans out, the Sixers have an affordable shooter under control for the rest of his rookie contract, '09 and '10 then he's a restricted free agent in '11.Denver
This is really the only other deal I could come up with that would work out cap-wise and might make some kind of sense for the Sixers, although I like the Orlando package better.Sixers give:
- Andre Miller
- $9.6M in '08
- $9.99M in '09
- Eduardo Najara
- J.R. Smith
- $1.6M in '08
- $2.3M qualifying offer in '09
- Linus Kleiza
- $1.0M in '08
- $1.8M in '09
- $2.7M qualifying offer in '10
- Anthony Carter
- $770K in '08 (can reject trade using Deveon George logic)
- Von Wafer
- Future first-round pick
Most five-for-one deals are far-fetched. This one is no different. If it happened, you'd have an immediate upgrade for Willie Green at the 2 in J.R. Smith and Kleiza would bring some offensive punch off the bench. Carter would get minutes at the point, splitting time with Lou Williams. Up until this year, Najara has been strictly a hustle guy who could bring toughness and eat some minutes at the PF for you. This season, though, he's added the three to his bag of tricks, he's shooting it at a 35% clip. Overall, the Sixers could upgrade the #2 spot and add some offense off the bench in Kleiza, but Johnson and Williams would not make up for the loss of Miller, not even close.Long Term:
Najara, Smith, Carter and Wafer could all come off the books this Summer (Smith is a restricted free agent). That would create roughly $8.1M in additional cap space for the Sixers and again, that may make enough of a difference to land a Josh Smith or Elton Brand. Kleiza is a nice piece to have, he brings an outside game to the team. So more flexibility in the Summer and possibly another piece to the puzzle for the long haul. The pick would be in the 20's most-likely, so an asset, but not a great one.
Either one of these deals could happen, theoretically. Neither Orlando nor Denver would be giving up a player vital to the core of their team for the playoff run. The Sixers could potentially pull off either deal and still compete for the playoffs. Both deals would create more flexibility in the offseason while also providing them with a potential piece for the team, namely outside shooting.
As I said before, I don't think any deal involving Andre Miller is going to happen. The one name that I think may have a chance of being moved is Willie Green. Willie is not a starter, but he is instant offense if used correctly by the right team. Any team who struggles for offense could use Willie, and they may be willing to swap an expiring contract for him.
Two other names who could have value to certain teams: Reggie Evans and Rodney Carney. A team looking for toughness and rebounding could take a flier on Evans, although his contract isn't exactly favorable. Carney's upside may be a lure for certain teams looking to get more athletic.
Alas, only time will tell. Luckily, we won't have to wait or speculate for much longer. The deadline is imminent.