NBA Trade Speculation: Andre Miller for Brandon Rush Helps Jazz and Nuggets

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 2: Andre Miller #24 of the Denver Nuggets attempts a free throw shot against the Golden State Warriors in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2013 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

While talking with ESPN 700's Bill Riley and Hans Olsen in Salt Lake City today, Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears mentioned the possiblity of the Utah Jazz bringing Andre Miller back to the state where he played his college ball.

Spears added that Miller's current team—the Denver Nuggets—might be interested in some of the expiring contracts the Jazz currently hold.

So, as is always the case with me, I heard about a potential trade and now I just have to say something about it.

First off, there is a straight-up swap that could be done between Denver and Utah that works in terms of collective bargaining rules. Here is how it looks as constructed on ESPN's NBA Trade Machine:

The Deal: Andre Miller for Brandon Rush



Why it Works for Denver

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 30:  Brandon Rush #25 of the Utah Jazz poses for a photo during 2013 Media Day at Zions Basketball Center on September 30, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

Andre Miller has been a valuable component of Denver's uptempo offense over the last few years, proving as recently as last season that he can still ball even in his advancing years.

The 37-year-old Miller averaged 13.2 points and 8.1 assists per 36 minutes for the Nuggets in 2012-13, and sported a true shooting percentage of 54.8 (a number that takes free throws into account).

But does Denver really need him this season?

They signed Nate Robinson this summer, giving them a second undersized, but explosive point guard behind Ty Lawson. Therefore, since none of the three point guards are equipped to play shooting guard, they should think about moving one to fill another need.

And where this team has a need is at shooting guard, because losing Andre Iguodala was a big blow—particularly on defense.

That's where Rush comes in. Over his last full season in Golden State, he established himself as a physical perimeter defender who could space the floor on the other end—hitting 45.2 percent of his three-point attempts in 2011-12.

He would be an upgrade over Denver's current 2-guard Randy Foye in terms of size and defense, while still providing the outside shooting for which Foye was acquired.


Why it Works for Utah:

Oct 8, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke (3) dribbles toward the basket during the second half against the Golden State Warriors at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 101-78. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Burke is going to be out for eight to 12 weeks after undergoing surgery to a finger on his shooting hand. Utah could just stand pat and let John Lucas III and Scott Machado run things—many felt they'd tank this season anyway.

However, if they did want to add some depth at point guard while Burke recovers, there are options.

I've previously discussed going after Jimmer Fredette and a host of other options, but Spears' thoughts on Miller was the first time I'd heard of that particular route.

It makes sense for a few reasons.

First of all, Miller makes the Jazz a much better team. And while some may openly be rooting for losses in Utah in hopes of landing the top pick in next year's draft, there is value to being competitive. If Utah's young core gets a taste of winning early, its development might accelerate.

When Burke does come back, he'll have a fantastic mentor in place in Miller. The veteran is entering his 15th season and ranks 10th in NBA history in assists.

In a league that is increasingly trending toward scoring guards, Miller remains a true, old-school 1.

He could teach Burke a great deal about pace, vision and passing. No offense to Lucas, but Miller is the kind of mentor that could actually have a long-term impact on Burke.

Finally, I think Utah would be a great place in which Miller could end his career. He first gained notoriety as the point guard for the Utah Utes—a team he led to the national championship game in 1998.

The Jazz have a passionate fan base and plenty of season ticket holders are old enough to remember the days of Miller, Michael Doleac and Keith Van Horn.

He'd be welcomed back to the Beehive State with open arms.


Will it Happen?

I'm in favor of the Jazz doing something to bring depth to the point guard position while Burke recovers, but ultimately, I don't think the organization makes a move.

This was always expected to be a tough year for the Jazz—one filled with losses—so maybe they'll just roll with the punches.


All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.

For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter @AndrewDBailey. 


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