Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Andre Miller: Right Fit or Desperation?

Multiple outlets have been reporting for the past several days that Andre Miller flew into Las Vegas this past week to meet with head coach Nate McMillan. Obviously, Miller was not Pritchard's first or second option, but does going after Andre signal that he is the right fit, just not the top priority, or is it an act of desperation by KP to accomplish something this summer?
One major positive in not having Andre Miller as our #1 target is his market value has been driven down, way down. As time passed in free agency, deals such as Mike Bibby getting 3 years for $18 million, have set the market for 30-something veteran point guards. Originally, Miller wanted $10 million a season for multiple years, but not only has no team pursued Miller for the $10 million he was seeking, no team has really showed any interest in Miller at all. The Knicks have been rumored to have offered a 1 year deal at the full mid level exception but who knows the validity of New York tabloid media? Also, another factor in Portland's favor is the fact Philadelphia will look for a sign and trade, which would allow the Blazers to add an upgrade at point guard and still have their cap room to go after another free agent or lopsided trade.
One big question has to be asked though. How come teams aren't knocking down the door for a 16 ppg, 6.5 apg, 4.5 rpg point guard who has been extremely durable over his 11 year career, playing on average of 90% of his games? It could have been his hefty contract demands but since those seem to have been subdued, really only the Knicks have shown interest. My theory is Andre Miller is only a player a contending team seeks out and all the contending teams (Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Cavaliers, Magic, etc) all have point guards they are satisfied with, so that doesn't leave many options available for him. Portland would seem like the only logical destination; young team, on the verge of title contention, in need of a veteran point guard.
The major red flag in regards to bringing Miller to Portland seems to be his lack of 3 point shooting, career 21% shooter. Many fans believe that Brandon Roy is our point guard when it matters most in the 4th quarter and we need a point guard to be able to spot up, off the ball, and knock down the long ball. One thing that gets overlooked is how good of a shooter Miller is inside the 3 point arc, 46% over 11 years. Portland already has enough long-range threats, Outlaw, Webster, & Fernandez, to compensate for Miller. While Portland would surely miss Blake's timely shooting, we would be in a better position to win games over the full 48 minutes with Andre's superior penetrating, rebounding, and passing skills.
Finally, I believe going after Andre is a little bit of "right fit" and a little "desperation". KP has already missed on his top 2 targets this summer and I get the feeling he wants to get something done in what has been considered "the last summer with cap space". Also, Miller makes a lot of sense for this Blazer team who have been in dire need of someone other than Roy who can get to the hoop and finish. The fact that KP could acquire Andre without giving up all of the team's cap space makes him more of an attractive option. I really hope Portland is able to sign, seal, and deliver Andre to the Rose City but contingent on two factors: It is a Mike Bibby type of contract and the only players given up in a sign and trade are Steve Blake or Martell Webster.

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