With the NBA Trade Deadline only a day away, the Miami Heat have emerged as team in the market for a deal. With all the moves they made in the offseason, the Heat don't have many trading chips, and most of their salary is tied up in their Big Three.
However, Mike Miller has been a name that's recently popped into the trade discussions. Although Miami signed Miller to a five-year deal in the offseason, he has played under expectations and appears to be expendable.
The sharpshooter missed the first 29 games of the season, and other than a 32-point performance against Toronto last month, Miller hasn't been the contributor Miami hoped he would when they signed him.
He is averaging a career-low 5.9 points per game on 38.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
So that begs the question: Should Miami trade Mike Miller?
The Heat lack depth at point guard and center, and those two positions have been their biggest weaknesses this season. Miller could be a perfect trading chip to acquire a point guard or center.
However, the Heat should not give up on Miller yet and keep him for the playoff run. Here is why.
At the end of the day, Miller is still a career 40.5 percent shooter from the three-point line. He is still one of the deadliest three-point shooters in the game and can be a great asset for Miami.
While he is shooting 38.7 percent this season, he has only played 22 games and still has time to get back in his groove.
Miller is an excellent shooter, and that hasn't changed just because he is in a Heat uniform. It will only be a matter of time before he gets his shot back.
Miller can still be a huge weapon in the postseason. He's a natural shooter and his shooting is invaluable in a seven-game series.
A team can never have enough shooting when it is competing for a championship, and the Heat shouldn't break up the shooting threesome of Miller, Eddie House and James Jones.
Regardless of Miller's subpar statistics this season, he still makes an impact every time he goes on the floor. Defense's will always be cautious to leave Miller open, which will naturally space the floor.
He frees up space for Miami's wing stars, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Even though Miller has under performed, he still is Miami's best bench player with Udonis Haslem out due to a foot injury.
Miller has the best combined point, rebound and assist average out of the Heat's reserves at 12.2. He averages 5.1 rebounds per game in only 19 minutes per contest. So he is still an effective reserve player for Miami.
He just needs to produce more scoring, and he will be everything Miami envisioned originally.
Like I said in the introduction, Miller missed the first 29 games of the season. He has only played 22 games this season and hasn't fully figured out how to be effective in Miami's lineup.
He even publicly stated that he has felt lost while he tries to integrate himself in the Heat's star-studded lineup. The Big Three have had all season to build chemistry, while Miller has had only 22 games to catch up.
Once he figures out Miami's system, he will be very crucial to the team.
Much like LeBron James, Miller has the ability to play four different positions. While the Heat need point guard and center help, Miller can play any position besides center.
At 6'8", he has excellent ball-handling skills and can act as a point guard off the bench if need be. In addition to dribbling and shooting, he can post up and has some inside game.
There is no reason to trade such a versatile player that hasn't had time to fully prove himself yet.
Miami signed Miller to a five-year deal for a reason. They expected him to be a productive role player in the Heat's championship runs over the next five seasons. It is still way too early in the game to give up on Miller.
They should at least keep him for the remainder of the year and see how he performs in the playoffs. If he continues to struggle, then the Heat can trade him in the offseason to get point guard or center help.
Who could the Heat get in return for Miller that would actually be fair and help them more than he could? As for point guards, Devin Harris, Jarrett Jack and Deron Williams have already been dealt. Not that the Heat would have been able to get Williams, but those seem like the only point guards that would have been valuable enough to get rid of Miller.
O.J. Mayo and Courtney Lee are still out there, but salaries wouldn't match up unless other players are involved. The Heat would have a hard time finding a perfect match to take on Miller's $5 million contract and still receive someone of value in return.
Mike Miller has career averages of 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He has shown a true ability to create his own offense over the course of his career and is a deadly shooter on top of that.
Despite his struggles so far, he can still become the Heat's leading scorer off the bench. When the Big Three are resting, Miller can come in and create instant offense off the bench.
With all that he's done over his career, it really is only a matter of time before he breaks out of his slump and turns it on. That 32-point breakout against Toronto was a sign of what Miller can bring to the table. So Miami should just wait it out and let Miller do his thing.