LOOK, IF YOU can, into the future: Can you see unrestricted free agent Andre Miller in a 76ers uniform in 2009-10?

"Our position hasn't changed," said Andy Miller, the agent for the point guard who was arguably the Sixers' most important player in 2008-09. "Andre has a strong interest, a strong desire to come back.

"We feel, from his body of work, Philadelphia should obviously reflect that in an offer, in appreciation for what he has done or what he can do for them in the future. We know the team has financial commitments elsewhere, but we also know Andre has continued to produce and deliver.

"If the fans want a team that can make the playoffs, that can win in the playoffs, the Sixers would be hard-pressed to find someone at the position who can produce like Andre."

Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski is likely to hear that and more today when he contacts Andy Miller on the first day of free agency in the NBA. Teams can negotiate with players and agents, but cannot finalize deals until July 8.

This isn't like some years, when Stefanski might have been on a free agent's doorstep at 12:01 a.m. With no more than the midlevel exception of about $5.6 million, the bi-annual exception of just under $2 million and the ability to make trades, the Sixers are not in a position to do that.

Nor is it like last summer, when Stefanski was able to court restricted free agent Josh Smith, then throw major dollars at Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala.

The first order of business, then, is for Stefanski to call Andy Miller, "to see where the landscape is."

"If that's their position, then I'll pick up [Stefanski's] call first," Andy Miller said.

The "landscape" involves the type of contract - dollars and length of term - that would interest Andre Miller, who will turn 34 in March. Many observers believe his defense, never his strong suit, tailed off dramatically down the stretch of last season.

Miller was listed on the Sixers' salary cap at $10,333,334 last year. Will he accept something similar? Will the Sixers offer something similar? More? Less?

Those same observers acknowledge that Miller holds the longest streak of games played (530) among active players and that the Sixers do not have another starter-ready point guard. Stefanski has said that first-round draft choice Jrue Holiday is their point guard of the future, and his best path to immediate minutes is his willingness and ability to play defense.

Supporters of new coach Eddie Jordan's Princeton offense like to point out that it can be effective with a pair of combo guards; others suggest it remains necessary to have someone experienced to direct the offense.

The age factor?

"By the time we get to March, they will have played almost a whole season," Andy Miller said. "We don't see age being a factor. Last year, Andre was as productive [16.3 points, 6.5 assists] as he has always been, and he's one of the iron men of the league. He gets hurt less than any of the other starters."

Length of term?

"We're not looking long term - 3 years," Andy Miller said. "Jason Kidd and Steve Nash are likely to have contracts that will take them to 38."

The Sixers likely would be more comfortable with 1 year, or perhaps 1 year and some sort of option or buyout. That's all part of the negotiation process, particularly in the current economic climate, in which some marquee players will sign quickly and others will have to wait patiently to see whether the salary cap and the luxury-tax trigger point come down.

Andre Miller's defense?

"If his defense fell off," Andy Miller said, "then we'd have to go back and evaluate who played stellar defense."

There are also the annual rumors and speculation about interest from other teams and whether Andre Miller would prefer to go west. In recent days, one ESPN reporter has "heard" about the idea of a sign-and-trade with Portland and the possibility of such an arrangement bringing Steve Blake to the Sixers.

League executives were not cleared to speak specifically about such things until today, but an anonymous voice inside the Trail Blazers supposedly said, "Don't get too worked up over that one."

"How Andre feels about going west or how he feels about anything under the sun has been just conjecture," Andy Miller said. "That's because no one has spoken to Andre at this point other than me."

Of the Sixers' own free agents, Stefanski appears to have some interest in retaining guard Royal Ivey, who declined to pick up the player option on the back end of his 2-year contract. Fourteen-year veteran Donyell Marshall could be an option much later on, but seems more likely to keep his hat in the ring for the Comcast SportsNet game-analyst position vacated by Bob Salmi. There is no interest in bringing back guard/forward Kareem Rush or forward/center Theo Ratliff.

And never mind that the Sixers rarely hear from Andre Miller from May to August.

"That's just who he is," Andy Miller said. "That's no reflection on his level of interest." *

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