May 13, 2012, 4:03 PM EDT
Andre Miller was traded on draft night last year to Denver, and from the start it was an odd fit. Miller had signed with Portland as a free agent and wanted to be considered a top tier player. He had struggled with Nate McMillan and despite his chemistry with LaMarcus Aldridge, was moved for what was thought to be an upgrade in Raymond Felton. (Whoops.) In Denver, he played brilliantly along with Ty Lawson, but he had issues with coming off the bench. It’s one of those “I’m fine with it, but I’m not fine with it” kind of deals.
After Denver was eliminated Saturday night, Miller spoke about his decision as a free agent this summer. And it doesn’t sound like he’s headed back to the Mile High City.
“I’ll keep my options open,” Miller said. “At this point in my career, if I’m going to be a backup, I’m going to be a backup on a championship-caliber team. Obviously, this team is a good team thats going to get to the playoffs, but the thing is if they are committed to getting to that next level to compete for that championship.”
“I want to be on a team that’s going to compete for a championship, and not use youth as a crutch or inexperience as a crutch,” Miller said.
“This team does have guys that can compete and can get out of the first round. It’s just whether I can swallow my pride and deal with being a backup point guard. I have no problem with it, but at the same time I definitely still see myself as a starter in this league. Like I said, you have to swallow your pride sometimes. These young guys are coming in and theyre working for it. So, thats just part of the business that Im learning.”
If I’m interpreting, that’s not exactly screaming with confidence for his team. That’s a veteran player who knows that the Nuggets aren’t ready to make the leap and will be looking to chase a ring. So the usual suspects, Boston, Miami, the Lakers, Spurs, etc. will be on the list. Miller knows that the Nuggets aren’t ready. If they were to pay him top dollar and let him start, then sure. But they’ve got Ty Lawson. It doesn’t seem likely that they’ll give Miller that. That doesn’t mean Miller won’t return. He felt he was a top flight free agent when he signed with Portland and that process was considerably more complicated. If no one else lodges a serious offer, he could come back.
Miller does bring a lot of value, though. A tenacious defender who can hit open shots and throw the lob, he’s rife with that experience teams crave. It’ll be interesting to see who decides they need him and what teams are worth him sacrificing his pride in starting.