In our “What’s Next” series, a Right Down Euclid writer will look at each individual member of the Cleveland Cavaliers by analyzing what their future looks like and/or what’s the next step in their development. In this piece, Chris Manning looks at Cavaliers guard C.J. Miles, who is set to become a free agent this summer.
We know that C.J. Miles is as a basketball player. At 27, he’s been in the league for eight years and likely won’t ever become anything more than what he is now: A swing with a decent jump shot, good range and underrated defensive abilities, all while being a positive presence in the locker room.
There’s nothing wrong with Miles being nothing more than this. That’s a role that can get you paid in the NBA and it makes his future all the more interesting. Last season, he made $2.25 million in the final year of a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Coming off two fairly productive seasons while also entering what should be his peak years, Miles figures to get an increase in salary, even if it is just a million or two. Who that money comes from is the question.
At the trade deadline, he was reportedly the target of the Brooklyn Nets and was also linked to both the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. All three teams, who all made the playoffs this season, will be looking for depth on the perimeter this offseason. Other likely contenders, such as the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers, could be in the market for a player with Miles’ skills.
Each of those teams, however, won’t have the cap space that the Cavaliers will. If David Griffin (or whomever the general manager is) plans on re-signing Miles, they’ll have a little extra cash in their wallet to do so. A team like the Nets, for example, would likely need Paul Pierce to come back at a reduced price in order to make a competitive offer. The same goes for the Clippers, who will already be paying Jared Dudley $4.25 million next season after not getting any production out of him this year.
A salary of around $4.25 million would be fair for Miles. He’s a cheap three-and-d player who is good for two or three big scoring outbursts a season. In Cleveland, Miles increased his field goal and 3-point averages each year. He’s not an elite marksman, but if he can stay close to the 39.3 percent clip he shot from deep last year, he helps your offensive spacing. He’d be useful to bring back if it all possible.
There are issues with Miles that are worth noting. He played in 65 of 82 games in 2012-2014 and just 51 out of 82 this past season. His overall career doesn’t indicate that he’s injury prone, but it is concerning that Miles was unable to return to the floor at the end of this season due to an ankle sprain. He also carries a fairly high usage rate (22.0) for a player who only played 19.3 minutes per game last season, although that may be because he was never really asked to spot-up off the ball in Mike Brown’s offense.
In the end, Miles’ future will likely be decided what he wants to do. Does he want to chase a ring with a sure-fire playoff team offering a little less money to get out of? Or does he return to the Cavaliers, where he is well liked by everyone and might get paid a little more? It doesn’t deserve an ESPN special, but Miles’ decision is important for the Cavaliers’ as they look towards next season and slightly beyond, when the Cavs are ideally a playoff team looking to take that next step towards contention.