Nets Want Mike Miller Over Larry Hughes

Mike Miller

I have some bad news for all the Bulls fans eager to see Larry Hughes switch uniforms: the Nets do in fact have some interest in Hughes, but only as a fallback plan. Who are the Nets really going after? Mike Miller, a pretty useful player who's been buried in mediocrity since being traded to the Timberwolves this summer.

Dave D'Alessandro of the Star-Ledger spoke with an "NBA general manager familiar with the discussions" who confirmed the news, saying the Nets have been pursuing the deal since the start of the week. So far the Wolves aren't biting, reportedly holding for a draft pick and a young player; all New Jersey wants to give up is salary cap relief.

Miller is making $9 million this year -- or roughly a million dollars for every point he averages. His scoring has dropped from 16.4 points per game last year with the Grizzlies to just 9.1 with the Wolves. It's not just about playing time (he's averaging five fewer minutes per game this year), he's both taking fewer shots and making them at a less efficient rate this year.

The Nets are believed to be dangling Stromile Swift, who's appeared in all of six games this year but is still a nice commodity given his expiring $6.1 million contract. Miller, on the other hand, is signed through next year for another $9.75 million, so New Jersey's proposed deal would give the Wolves a bit more cap room this summer while not sacrificing any of their own cap space for the summer of 2010.

It's clear Miller isn't being properly utilized in Minnesota, but I have to believe his trade value is more than just cap space. Unlike the Jason Kaponos and Damon Jones of the world, he's not just a three-point specialist, although he's (usually) one of the best in the league from beyond the arc -- it's a testament to his track record that his .333 mark from long range this year is a career-low.

Unless the Nets step up by offering actual talent in addition to cap relief, I'm guessing the Wolves hold out until more contenders come calling at the deadline.

Nets Want Mike Miller Over Larry Hughes originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:50:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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