Amid all the trade rumors, 76ers point guard Andre Miller has quietly gone about his business in a professional manner.
Miller has played exceptionally well after a slow start. He is averaging 15.5 points, 6.2 assists and 2.38 turnovers a game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field.
His improved play will likely only increase the rumors, many of which are unsubstantiated.
Miller turns 32 in March. He is in his ninth NBA season, and the Sixers are his fourth team. Miller's contract expires after next season. He is making $9.36 million this season and will be paid $9.9 million next season. For an accomplished point guard, those aren't extravagant numbers.
So Miller, who might be the most respected member of the team, doesn't listen to all the trade buzz.
"It's a business, and you still have to go out and perform," he said after yesterday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "You can't worry about those types of distractions."
Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski has heard the rumors. Stefanski recently reached out to Miller's agent, Lon Babby, to say he didn't know whether anybody on the team would be traded and to tell him how much he admired what Miller brings.
"Andre is a heck of a basketball player," Stefanski said. "He is very, very good, and I am evaluating everybody in this organization."
Since Stefanski has been in the job for only two weeks, there is still a lot of evaluating to do.
"It's way too early to make a decision on any player," Stefanski said. "I don't want anybody to think that I don't see what Andre Miller does for the 76ers and what kind of player he is."
Even though Miller is the Sixers' best trading chip, they would miss his leadership and production. And Stefanski has made it clear that he will only make a deal that will improve the team.
"I am not going to give a player away, whoever it is, just for the sake of making a change, just to say I'm doing something," Stefanski said. "That is not going to happen."
Miller understands the situation, which is why he hasn't dwelled on things.
"I haven't seen anything that would suggest that he has been distracted by rumors," Babby said. "He understands trades could happen, but at the same time he is enjoying playing for the 76ers."
Miller was dealt to the Sixers a year ago tomorrow from Denver in the Allen Iverson deal.
"That was a shocker, going from Denver to here," Miller said. "I am now prepared for anything."
Miller is often the last to leave the practice floor, and is constantly watching tape of future opponents.
"He's been great," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He goes out and plays, and doesn't let anything affect him."
Miller, and consequently the Sixers, got off to a slow start, but the Sixers have won five of their last six games. They play tomorrow at Indiana, which is coached by Jim O'Brien, the former Sixers coach.
"I've always been a slow starter because November is usually a month when I try to find my rhythm and try to find my game," Miller said. "Then you begin to relax and let the game come to you as the season goes along."
No matter what happens, Miller said he considered himself fortunate to be making a living in the NBA.
"As long as I have a job in this league, I will compete and play until nobody wants me anymore," Miller said. "I have taken something positive out of every place I've played, and this has been no different."
Notes. Point guard Lou Williams and forward Reggie Evans didn't practice yesterday. Williams had soreness in his right big toe, in which he suffered a slight fracture on Dec. 8. He is day-to-day. Evans has been playing with a strained right shoulder and is expected to be ready tomorrow. . . . Forward Kyle Korver will receive the Good Guy Award at the 104th Philadelphia Sports Writers banquet on Jan. 28 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill. "It's cool," Korver said of the honor.
Keep up with the 76ers on Marc Narducci's Sixers blog at http://blogs.phillynews.com/inquirer/deepsixer/EndText