Andre Miller is currently the best free agent point guard. The salary cap rules of the NBA enable the Sixers to spend as much money as they wish in order to secure one of their own free agents.
Right now, Andy Miller, Andre's agent, is insistent upon a three-year deal worth $30 million. First off, let's remember that our own Samuel Dalembert's salary trumps Miller's request, as he will be making over 10 million dollars the next two seasons.
If the 76ers let Andre Miller walk, they will only be left with the mid-level exception (between five and six million). There is no chance of them bringing in a player anywhere near Miller's caliber for five to six million.
Miller boasts career averages of 14.6 ppg, 7.4 apg, and 4.2 rpg, and he's coming off one of the best seasons in his career as well, posting 16.3 ppg, 6.5 apg, and 4.5 rpg.
Miller is the floor leader and pass-first point guard that can play deep into his 30's. His strengths consist of a crafty post game, mid range floaters, and pinpoint deliveries on his passes. His 21.2 ppg, 5.3 apg, and 6.3 rpg during the first round of the playoffs proves that he has plenty of good basketball left in the tank.
The Sixers finished last season at 41-41, despite the premature and unfair firing of Maurice Cheeks and losing Elton Brand after only 29 games.
That Sixers team, minus Elton Brand, won just as many games against the Magic as the Cavs, and were contenders until the unforgettable collapse in Game Six. They even led the series 2-1, until Hedo Turkoglu struck the Sixers with a dagger.
Then at 2-2 playing in Orlando, the Sixers' fortunes could've been different had the refs seen Dwight Howard's infamous and intentional elbow to the face of Dalembert when the Sixers led 6-2 only minutes into the game. Well, Howard went on to post 24 points and 24 rebounds that night, and the rest is history.
There's no way Elton Brand would've signed with Philly had he known that the Sixers wouldn't be bringing back Miller, and there's no way the Sixers would've signed Brand unless they intended to bring Miller back. It's no secret that Brand and the Sixers didn't mesh well last year.
Then again, can't the Sixers show some patience? Brand suited up for 29 games last season (a good handful of those games, he played in a reserve role in his attempt to come back after his injury).
He posted career lows of 13.8 ppg and 8.8 rpg. The guy has averaged 20 points, 10 boards, and 2 blocks per game over his 10 year career. His post game, basketball IQ, and overall technique will not abandon him even late into his 30's.
Yes, he has had two very disappointing injuries in a row, but they are completely unrelated, and there is no evidence that suggests Brand is over the hill already. Also, with his contract the way it is, it's almost impossible to trade him away, even if we don't get anything but cap space in return.
So, in the short term with Miller, the Sixers remain competitive, are arguably one piece away from contending, and have one of the most underrated point guards the NBA has seen to show Jrue Holiday the ropes.
As for the long term, the Sixers will have Dalembert's expiring contract next season to ship away, and maybe another player and some draft picks will be enough to bring back someone who can put this team over the hump.
If the Sixers don't resign Miller, they are basically admitting they were wrong in their signing of Brand.
If they don't resign Miller, they will not be competitive for years to come. They will continue to be good enough to be in the hunt for a playoff spot, good enough to avoid getting one of the top picks in the draft, and good enough to wonder what could've been if they had just re-signed Andre Miller.
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