Reports out of Philadelphia seem to indicate that newly installed GM Ed Stefanski isn't in any rush to move Andre Miller, which comes as a surprise to many of the pundits who expected Miller to be one of the crucial commodities rather readily available between now and February's trading deadline. Granted, by now we should well know not to take general managers fully at their word regarding their interests in particular personnel moves, but that said, it wouldn't hurt Stefanski to actually take the approach he is currently espousing. Because it makes a lot of sense.
The points in favor of removing Miller right away are largely that getting rid of him will likely help the Sixers into prime tanking position and that he isn't in the team's long-term plans anyway. With Miller being 31 years old and the Sixers likely still a couple of years away from contending, the latter is probably true. The former is certainly so, given Miller's solid production throughout the season.
All that said, the important point to be made here is that while getting rid of Miller might be the right move in the long run, there is no need for panic here. It would be immensely foolish for the Sixers to jump at an early offer just for the sake of making a move and to end up getting underpaid for Miller. They have both the time to hang on to him for a bit more and a use for him.
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Miller is signed through the end of next season at a total close to $19 million between this season and next. In some regards, his value may only rise next season, as he will be a rental with an expiring contract for teams with a need for point guard help. There will be no obligation for any team that picks him up to take him on at close to $10 million for another season, but it should not take too much of an offer to bring back a point guard who will be entering a season in which he will turn 33, should his new employers decide that they are happy with him. That alone is enough to keep the Sixers from pressing on the Miller front. Letting the suitors come to them for now should do just fine.
This is supplemented, however, by Miller's current effect on this team in Philadelphia. While this is a team that should certainly be looking to let its young kids get as much experience as possible, those young kids need veteran leadership to show them the way, especially at the beginning. Having an experienced point guard on the floor will allow the youngsters on the floor with him to get their rightful proportion of touches and to understand what it means to play in an offense that is if nothing else well-run. With a bona fide point guard on the floor, it becomes much easier for the other young'uns to learn the game, and it becomes easier to fairly assess the work of those young players. Miller's solid play (16.1 points and 6.4 assists per game) has had a steadying effect on this team, and he has been a big part of helping them to come out more competitively than many expected this season, as they now sit at 14-18 and in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Perhaps keeping Andre Miller will hurt this Sixers team a few spots in the lottery this season. But when all is said and done, the Sixers are most likely not a playoff team and will probably end up getting at least a decent lottery pick albeit not a great one. But if they do manage to make a pseudo-miraculous run into mid-April, well, that wouldn't be the worst thing either. Making the playoffs in the first full season of the post-Answer era? Seems like a story that would be hard to pass up in Philly. And as far as the minutes for the kids, the kids that matter in the backcourt for this team are getting minutes. Making more room for Kevin Ollie in the rotation certainly doesn't need to be a priority for the Sixers.
Andre Miller provides a solid mentor for the youngsters in Philly and makes the current Sixers team much more competitive than many thought it would be. He will likely have as much if not more trade value in the season to come. And his presence keeps Kevin Ollie off the floor.
No rush, indeed, Mr. Stefanski.