Thunder Interested In Mike Miller Again?
By Randy Renner
The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of three teams already expressing interest in likely free agent to be Mike Miller.
ESPN's Marc Stein reporting the Thunder, Grizzlies and Mavericks all want to talk with Miller who was traded Sunday night along with Brendan Haywood from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers are expected to buyout Miller's $2.85 million contract.
The Thunder have tried to get Miller before and failed, this time around it's not clear just how much value Miller has left.
He turned down the Thunder a couple seasons ago to sign with Memphis where he still has a home. Then it was off to the Cavs to try to win a ring with LeBron James.
Miller thought he would get more playing time in Memphis than OKC and he also thought he'd see the court a lot with the Cavs.
But his playing time dwindled along with his skills last season.
In Miller's three previous seasons before joining the Cavaliers he averaged hitting 44.3 percent of his 3-pointers and in 2013-14 with the Grizzlies he took and made more 3-pointers (107-for-233) than in any season since 2007-08.
But last season with Cleveland, Miller hit just 32.7 percent of his threes, the worst long range shooting percentage of his career while playing a career low 13.5 minutes per game and scoring a career low 2.1 points per game.
Miller still thinks he can play and perhaps a reunion with Billy Donovan, his former college coach, would help.
The Thunder could probably sign him for the veterans' minimum but OKC just has one open roster spot at the moment and most expect that to go to last year's second 1st round draft pick Josh Huestis who has been waiting in the wings and the D-League for an opportunity.
The Thunder also have a stacked lineup of wings and if Miller is wanting more playing time it's hard to imagine he would get it with the Thunder.
OKC management loves to have some key veterans on the team who tend to play greater roles in the lockerroom at times than on the court, whether that type of role would satisfy Miller is a big question another big question is just how much that would be worth to the Thunder.
Is it worth the gamble to bring him in to see if he can climb up the depth chart? Or is it worth opening up another roster spot by moving Steve Novak? The Thunder would like to do that anyway but at this point they might also have to throw in a draft pick to interest other teams, if they wait till closer to the February trade deadline Novak can provide some of the same things Miller can early in the season and then in February teams might be more inclined to take Novak and his expiring $3.75 million contract without any sweeteners.
My guess is the Thunder will let Miller go somewhere else, but not knowing exactly what Donovan's feelings and influence might be will make the next couple of weeks interesting.