Andre Miller likes to say that he wants to be the loudest player on the court, the quietest one off it.
The 76ers' point guard and former University of Utah star likes to disappear during the offseason, content to live a private life away from the questioning glare of the media, even away from the franchise that employs him.
Ed Stefanski, the Sixers' president/general manager, will tell you that once the last game is played, Miller is hard to find.
Not quite as hard this summer. In a lengthy conversation with the Philadelphia Daily News, Miller revealed that he has not had any discussions with the Sixers about extending his contract, but that he is interested in staying after the coming season. He also said that he met with coach Maurice Cheeks in Los Angeles last month, and that he sent a handful of e-mails and text messages to Stefanski and senior vice president/assistant GM Tony DiLeo during the NBA draft and after the acquisition of free agent Elton Brand.
"I stayed in touch," Miller said. "Normally, I don't talk to anybody in the summer. I stayed involved. Every player wants some type of stability in the long run. At my age (32), I definitely want to see that happen, but you have to weigh your options. They've made strides."
Miller is in the process of changing agents, and once he has secured new representation is open to talking about the future. In large part because he never has depended on blinding speed, he believes he can continue to play at a high level.
"I'm 28," Miller deadpanned. "You've seen (effective performance) in (older) players like Gary Payton, Sam Cassell, John Stockton. Those guys took care of their bodies. They weren't the quickest, but they knew what they could do. They played within themselves and within the system. I'm trying to go as long as I can. When I feel the need to back down a little as far as practice time to preserve my body, I'll do that. I think I've earned that. I don't think I miss any practices."
Miller has played at least 80 games in each of his previous nine seasons, and has appeared in all 82 six times, including last season when he averaged 17 points, 6.9 assists, 4 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 36.8 minutes. He was easily the team's most valuable player, helping the Sixers climb out of an early 18-30 hole to finish 40-42 and reach the postseason for the first time since 2004-05. They even beat heavily favored Detroit twice before getting eliminated in the first round.
"I've showed I'm durable, that I play through bumps and bruises and I stay professional," he said. "I've got to be able to play at different speeds. I think I still have good speed as far as the game, the tempo. My body still feels good."
He wonders about the e-mailers and message boarders who said he wasn't happy here, who said he wanted to be back on the West Coast.
"I like the team, I definitely like the way the team has gone," he said. "I never made any comment as far as not wanting to be in Philadelphia. I pretty much came into the situation and did as much as I could to try and turn the situation into a positive. I definitely like the team. I also know that it's a business, that I can't really say where I want to be because anything can happen. I'm happy with the situation right now. There's definitely some upside to the coming season."
Miller talked to the Daily News a couple of hours after the Sixers announced they had agreed in principle to a contract extension for Cheeks.
"That's cool," Miller said. "It's been fine (playing for Cheeks), a learning experience every day for me to play for somebody I followed when I was little. It's definitely something I'm taking advantage of.
"He understands players' bodies. He knows when to push a player, when to back off. He's a player's coach, he blends in well, but at the same time he gets his respect from the players."
Miller's offseason evaluation of the Sixers includes pointing out "that the coaching staff and management are willing to bring in players that can compete at a high level says a lot about the organization and where they're trying to push to. There's definitely a lot of young talent, guys that are still trying to prove themselves and are eager to get better. The talent level is definitely there."