The NBA All-Star celebration is upon us. As lavish a spectacle as the weekend will be, many die-hard NBA fans will be looking past Feb. 17th at what is perhaps the league’s most exciting date: Thursday, Feb. 21st, the NBA trade deadline.
The days leading up to the deadline is the time all armchair general managers salivate for. For some, it is the time where we put forth all the ways our teams can pull off a trade that will propel them to the Promised Land. For others, it is the opportunity to get rid of that guy who is eating up all your cap space or not living up to the big bucks he his getting paid.
For the most part, however, the deadline ends up being uneventful. To your surprise, that five-team, 16-player swap that landed you LeBron James and Kevin Durant for a D-Leaguer, cash considerations and a case of Big League Chew does not go through and you are stuck with the same roster you had the day before.
No, the trade deadline rarely lives up to the hype, but there is typically a significant surprise or two. While not as splashy as the guys you want to see change addresses, a player will pop up close to the date who ends up having a major impact in the unofficial second half of the season.
This year, that name could be Andre Miller.
There are two things we know for sure about Andre Miller. One, he can still perform at a very high level. While not the All-NBA performer he was in the 2001-2002 season where he where he put up a remarkable 16.5 points and a league-leading 10.9 assists per game, Miller has shown his game is still solid at the ripe age of 36. While his minutes are at a career low 25.2 per game, Andre’s 12.5 points and 8.2 assists per game per 36 minutes along with his rock solid percentages (47.6 on field goals and 86.0 from the free-throw line) are notable. Maybe most impressive, Miller has only missed six games in his entire 13-year career.
The second thing we know is that Miller does not see himself as a backup. ESPN’s Nick Borges recently reported the veteran is not happy with his role:
“I want more minutes,” Miller told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “If we were losing I would really be complaining. But it’s going as it goes. ... I don't know how much longer they want me here. I definitely would like to contribute more. I’m not just going to sit back and settle in and be a backup and let my career just fade away. I’m competitive in that way.”
To his credit, there have been no reports that Miller is disrupting the locker room, but it does open the door for a possible move. So who would want him?
Two teams immediately come to mind.
The Boston Celtics were dealt a tremendous blow when All-Star point man Rajon Rondo went down with an ACL tear a few weeks ago. With brutish rookie Jared Sullinger following suit with a season-ending back ailment, it seemed like the Celtics would finally sell off its pieces and begin the rebuilding process. After reeling off six consecutive victories, however, the band seems to be sticking together. Currently, the Celtics are operating on a “point guard by committee” philosophy, but could be interested in a steady hand at the helm. The Celtics have a ton of serviceable parts on reasonable deals that could make a Miller deal make sense.
The Utah Jazz could also use a hand at the point. Opening day starter Mo Williams has been shelved with a hand injury and vets Jamaal Tinsley and Randy Foye have filled in. Miller’s experience at the point could be a huge asset for the Jazz and their crop of young, athletic “bigs” and could allow for Williams to return gradually and play significant time off the ball similar to what he was able to do last season with the L.A. Clippers.
Miller is on the books for $5 million next season and $4.625 million in 2015, a very reasonable number for a player of Andre’s pedigree.