Other than the playoffs, this is my favorite part of the NBA season – the trading deadline. Who will go where, which moves will shape the rest of the season, what move will be a horrific flop, how many unrealistic trades can I get myself excited about after I make the money work on ESPN’s Trade Machine?
The possibilities are endless.
Except, of course, if you’re the Sixers, and you are quickly approaching a vital decision for both the remainder of this season, and the foreseeable future. That decision?
What the hell do you do with Andre Miller?
Miller, as you may or may not know, is a free agent after this season, and has shown no indication that he will resign with the Sixers. Which doesn’t mean he won’t, but it doesn’t seem likely. So just trade him, right? Not that easy. Miller is, at least in my opinion, the player most closely tied to this team’s success. He’s their floor general, the guy who moves everyone around, the player who knows who has the hot hand, when to get them the rock, and when he just needs to pull it down and handle business himself.
He is (pretty easily) their most valuable player.
And the Sixers, heading into the All-Star Break, are sitting in 5th place in the Eastern Conference. Trading Miller would likely jeopardize that seeding. So, if you’re the Sixers, you’ve got two options – keep him, hopefully win a playoff series, make your playoff revenue, and hope like hell you can resign him to a reasonable, short-term deal. Or, trade him away, and try to get some young, backcourt help.
Fun, fun, fun.
But trading him won’t be all that easy. There just aren’t that many contending teams out there that would be willing to rent Miller for the rest of the year, in hopes that he would put them over the edge. Here are some deals that could possibly go down.
Andre Miller and Willie Green for Jerrryd Bayless, Rudy Fernandez and Raef LaFrentz (Blazers)
If you do this as the Sixers, you are not necessarily sacrificing your playoff berth. You are, however, giving up on getting the 4th or 5th seed, and instead hoping to get the 7th or 8th. This is a play for the future; forget about LaFrentz, as he is just in this to make the money work. Nope, you are banking on a future backcourt rotation between Lou Williams, Bayless and Fernandez, and you are really hoping that either Williams or Bayless can step up and man the point. I don’t love this, but I would understand it, and it would make for some exciting basketball down the line.
Andre Miller for Rip Hamilton (Pistons), straight up
If the Pistons were willing to do this, I think the Sixers would have to make this move. Rip would fill in nicely at the two, though you would have to live with Lou at the point. Meanwhile, the Pistons would have a pure point, allowing Iverson to roam and bringing Stuckey off the bench to spell either guy. And, if you are just looking to cut salary, Miller comes off your books at the end of the year. This intrigues me.
Andre Miller and Kareem Rush for Monta Ellis, Anthony Randolph and Marcus Williams
Again, if the Warriors were willing to do this, I think the Sixers would have to make this move. Miller would give the Warriors a true point, and Ellis would bring the Sixers a guy that could play both the 1 and the 2. Between him and Lou, they wouldn’t have a pure point, but rather two guys that could handle the rock and run the offense. They might take a slight step backward, but at least they would be getting something in return for Miller.
I was trying to work out a huge, four-team trade that would have involved the Sixers, Suns, Blazers and Grizzlies. At one point, I had Mike Conley, Jr. and Rudy Fernandez coming back to the Sixers, but I could just never quite work it out to where I felt every team was getting a fair shake, and therefore, would make the deal.
I was also trying to find a situation where the Sixers would send Miller to the Heat, the Heat would send Shawn Marion to team X, and team X would send the Sixers either a young point guard, an all-purpose two, or both. Alas, I never found a team X that would realistically take on Marion and try to resign him, and had the pieces the Sixers would require in return. The Heat would probably love Miller, but they don’t have any worthwhile pieces for the Sixers.
You could send Andre Miller and Willie Green to the Timberwolves for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Which would be perfect. But I don’t think the ‘Wolves would do that. Unless they thought they could resign Miller, and coveted him because he would be a great compliment to…um, Al Jefferson? He is a nice player, no doubt, but who else do the Wolves really have? Ryan Gomes? Kevin Love?
Damn, is this frustrating.
I’ve been scouring the league, figuring there was a magical move that I’ve been missing – and I don’t think there is. Seriously. After about five hours of seeking the perfect deal for the Sixers, I’m just tired. And my retinas are smoking. What the hell will this team do?
At some point, the Sixers are just gonna have to bite a bullet. Either they ride out this season, likely into the playoffs, and potentially get nothing for Miller. Or, they think of their future and swing the deal with the Blazers, which is probably the most likely trade of all the ones proposed here.
Hmmm…glad I’m not Ed Stefanski.