Ball Don't Lie - NBA

This seems to be quite fair, in all respects.

33-year old Andre Miller(notes), stuck in "Knicks are my only option" limbo for nearly a month, has apparently decided to sign with the Portland Trail Blazers. The very young, Portland Trail Blazers.

If that news alone leaves you a little iffy, I can understand. You want your players to be on the same page, age-wise. You don't want to have guys in their prime's prime wasted playing with youngsters who are still too far away to consistently contribute at their best, or on the other side, well-heeled veterans who just can't cut it anymore.

But look at the terms, as Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears reports them — three years, $22 million, with the third year coming as a team option.


There's nobody else out there, save for Ramon Sessions, and it's likely that he's not going to sign for a two or three year deal. There's even a chance any Sessions contract gets matched by the Milwaukee Bucks, as Sessions is an unrestricted free agent.

Miller, at this point, is a better player. Sessions could vault ahead of Miller sometime next season, with point guards in their early-to-mid 30s you always run the risk of a one-way ticket to dogtown, without any warning. But at this point, and at these terms, this is a sound deal.

The Blazers need an upgrade on Steve Blake(notes), and though Miller has the same defensive deficiencies as the incumbent Portland point guard, he contributes at a far greater rate in every area save for outside shooting. And the Blazers, first in offensive efficiency last season, have that area more or less covered. It's not their specialty, but as youngsters Roy will improve from the outside, Nicholas Batum will improve from the outside, and Martell Webster(notes) could be returning to fire away this fall.

So Miller takes away Blake's outside shooting, for a stretch. He also scores better, passes better, doesn't turn it over (both Miller and Blake are tremendous assist-to-turnover types), and is one of the best lob tossers of the last 20 years. Because I'm a blogger, I think the lob was created in 1989.

And if Miller falls off a cliff? Then you have Steve Blake, in his prime. You have Sergio Rodriguez(notes), at least for now. Forgot Sergio was traded with cash and Brockman to the Kings for Jeff Pendergraph(notes). You have Jerryd Bayless(notes), who was ruddy awful in his rookie year, but that could turn around. Or they can just trade him with cash to the Kings. 

And you only have Miller for two years, at a price just above market average, while your young team moves closer to its prime.

For Miller? He's not going to get another staunch contract like this in his career, even if he shines through all three years. But this is fair. He's made plenty of money, a good rookie deal followed by a big free agent deal with Denver, followed by this. And, to be fair, he coasted at times during his contract year. Teams obviously noticed.

But they also noticed over 16 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds last season. Even if that drops a bit in 2009-10 (coach Nate McMillan likes to slow things down, so even if Miller's per-game averages drop, it doesn't mean he's playing worse), it's still sound production to have.

Fine deal, for both ends.

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