Veteran point guard Andre Miller found himself in a more favorable situation when he was dealt from the Denver Nuggets to the playoff-bound Washington Wizards after the 2014 NBA trade deadline. Nevertheless, he’s not taking a high-road approach with regard to his former team.
“I was made out to be the bad guy, the villain because I was the one complaining about minutes,” Miller said, via Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears. “That wasn’t the issue at all.”
Although the 38-year-old claims a lack of playing time wasn’t the issue in Denver, it seems to be what started the rift to begin with.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver, the 15-year pro was suspended for two games due to conduct detrimental to the team, stemming from a verbal altercation he had with head coach Brian Shaw.
The incident occurred during a 114-102 loss against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers Jan. 1. Shaw didn’t play Miller in the affair, which was the first DNP-CD (did not play—coach’s decision) of the floor general’s career. The benching snapped his streak of 239 consecutive games played.
“There’s a time and a place for everything,” Shaw said after the loss, per The Denver Post’s Christopher Dempsey. “In the middle of the arena in front of everyone … I just tried to calm it down.”
According to a January report by Adrian Wojnarowski and Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Nuggets management was “determined to smooth over the acrimony” between player and coach in an effort to keep Miller. That didn’t happen, as the point guard sat out 21 straight games before getting traded.
“I came out and represented the organization, played games, practiced and did it the right way,” Miller added, via Spears. “Don’t bash me. It’s not true saying I was disgruntled about minutes and complaining. In reality, I was just speaking up for guys on the team and being a veteran leader. I was just doing my job.”
Miller certainly has no shortage of opinions when talking about his former employers, but he never explicitly says what the spat stemmed from. If it wasn’t due to minutes and losing his streak of consecutive games played—which led to the argument and subsequent suspension—then the animosity is truly a mystery.
Washington will play Denver this Sunday, March 23. It will be interesting to see how Miller performs against his former team after he called it out through the media.