The Denver Nuggets have traded veteran point guard Andre Miller to the Washington Wizards as part of a three-team deal that will see Jan Vesely head to Denver, while the Philadelphia 76ers get guard Eric Maynor and two second-round picks.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported the news on Thursday:
Washington will get Andre Miller, Denver gets Vesley and Philadelphia gets Maynor and two second-round picks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
The Wizards official website later confirmed the news and provided all of the details of the deal:
Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired guard Andre Miller from Denver in exchange for forward Jan Vesely. As part of the three-team deal, the Wizards also sent guard Eric Maynor and a 2015 second round pick to Philadelphia and received a protected 2014 second round pick from the 76ers. The 76ers will also receive a future second round pick from Denver.
So ends the saga of Miller's second tenure in Denver, a relationship that soured under the team's new brass and head coach during a tumultuous 2013-14 NBA campaign.
The disgruntled veteran had not been with the club since prior to the New Year, a defection triggered by a two-game “suspension”—which was later downgraded to an excused absence—levied in early January for “conduct detrimental to the team,” according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post.
The prolonged absence stemmed from a heated dispute with first-year head coach Brian Shaw over playing time.
According to The Associated Press (via ESPN), Miller reportedly vocalized that he wasn’t happy with his minutes and role in Shaw’s offense.
This sparked a response from Shaw in early January (via the AP): "It just came to a boiling point. We made a decision and we're moving forward.”
The point guard was placed on the block shortly after; Dempsey noted in a separate report that the team began “actively” attempting to trade the 37-year-old on Jan. 5.
The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors were two teams that expressed immediate interest in Miller’s services, although the Denver brass originally wanted to “smooth over the acrimony” between the player and coach, per Yahoo Sports’ Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears.
Efforts to bring Miller back into the fold continued through February, when CBS Sports' Ken Berger reported that the Nuggets worked out the "banished" guard due to a deteriorating trade market and lack of depth at the point guard position.
That stance has obviously changed now that Miller has been shipped to the Wizards.
Miller should provide a solid presence at either guard spot. While his numbers are on the decline, he wasn’t being heavily utilized in Shaw’s rotation. The 15-year veteran was putting up a career-low 5.9 points, 3.3 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 0.5 steals in just 19.0 minutes per contest with the Nuggets.
For comparison, his career averages in those categories are 13.6 points, 7.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Miller will now have an opportunity to prove that he is still in possession of the skills required to be a valuable part of a rotation at his advanced age. He's a career 45.9 percent shooter from the field, and his touch remains despite his decreased production this season.
It is worth noting that Miller, who is earning $5 million for the current season (h/t Spotrac.com), is potentially playing for a new contract. His $4.6 million salary in 2014-15 is non-guaranteed, meaning the Wizards could waive him to clear cap space in the summer.
Were the Nuggets smart to move Miller?
For now, the change of scenery should benefit Miller, who figures to have a clearer role with his new team. While it may take some time for him to play his way back into shape, Berger's sources noted that Miller had actually dropped 12 pounds during his time away from the Nuggets. He could be ready to make an impact sooner than later.
The elder talent should be a major contributor come playoff time. While Miller has never experienced much postseason success, it seems he will have an opportunity to make a run now that he's a member of the Wizards, especially in the weakened Eastern Conference.