Nuggets GM: Andre Miller wants to stay in Denver
The Nuggets’ three-pronged plan for the summer is to redo Ty
Lawson’s deal, sign restricted free agent JaVale McGee and keep
veteran point guard Andre Miller in Denver.
That last item seemed a bit of a stretch after Miller indicated
over the weekend that if he were going to remain a backup at this
point in his career, it might as well be with a championship
The Nuggets don’t fit that bill just yet, but they are a team on
the rise, growing with a young core of players that includes
Lawson, McGee, Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari and Arron
Theirs was the youngest team to reach the Western Conference
playoffs, where they pushed the star-studded Lakers to seven
General manager Masai Ujiri said Thursday that Miller, an
unrestricted free agent who will be entering his 14th season in the
NBA, told him he wants to stay in Denver.
”I had a great meeting with Andre Miller a couple of days ago
and he told us plain and simple, he wants to come back and he wants
to play here,” Ujiri said. ”I think Andre’s comments are more he
wants to be respected as a veteran, which we feel he has to be
respected as a veteran.”
Which means, showing him the big bucks. Miller’s $7.8 million
salary in 2011-12 was tops on the team.
”I think he means that he’s played in the league 13 years and
he’s been a starter,” Ujiri said. ”So, I don’t want to go into
details there, but I think Andre does not want to be disrespected
in terms of, I don’t think it’s his teammates, I think he loved the
role that he played, so I think it’s contract. And we’ll figure it
Ujiri said Miller came to embrace his role coming off the bench
and running a more freestyle tempo, which, it turns out, worked
great with Faried and McGee, who was acquired from Washington in a
deadline deal for center Nene.
Miller told him that splitting time with Lawson kept some wear
and tear off his 35-year-old body, Ujiri said.
Miller averaged 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 27.4
minutes during the regular season. All of those numbers ticked
upward in the playoffs, when the Nuggets turned to Miller and Al
Harrington for veteran leadership against the Lakers.
Other than redoing Lawson’s deal and working out deals with
Miller and McGee, Ujiri said he expects a rather uneventful
”Yeah, there will be one or two changes here or there. We don’t
know if it’s going to be little, but our goal here is to be patient
now and let this team grow and have some continuity and see how it
pans out,” he said. ”Collectively, we feel we’re on the right
McGee made less than $2.5 million last season and is in line for
a big payday this summer, especially after a couple of outstanding
performances in the playoffs that left L.A.’s 7-footers Andrew
Bynum and Pau Gasol flustered and helped fuel Denver’s thrilling
playoff series with the Lakers.
”We were happy, but there’s still a lot of work to do” for the
big man to capitalize on his superior size and athleticism, Ujiri
said. ”… There’s some bad habits we’re going to have to change,
but that’s coaching and that’s mentoring and we feel like we’re in
a position where we can help the kid.
”So, we saw him a certain way, that’s kind of why we were
intrigued by bringing him here. The style of play I think also
favors him, running, the lobs, the rebounding, blocking shots and
creating opportunities for our team. I think he’s showing that a
little bit. The contract, that’s our job. We have to figure out a
way to do it.”
Ujiri had no update on Chris ”Birdman” Andersen’s situation.
Andersen’s lawyer said he believes allegations that led to a search
of the center’s home last week involve a spurned female fan. A
Douglas County sheriff’s task force that investigates allegations
of cybercrime against children is reviewing property seized from
Andersen’s suburban Denver home.
”We don’t have a lot of information for now, so I think we are
going to stay away from that,” Ujiri said. ”We’ve been in touch
with Bird and I will have an exit interview with him, but in terms
of what happened, there is limited information and that’s where we
are with it.”
Andersen, who has two years and about $9.3 million left on his
contract, had seen his playing time dwindle as Faried and other
youngsters gobbled up minutes over the last half of the season. He
didn’t play at all in the playoffs.
Arnie Stapleton can be reached at