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

contender.

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

Afflalo.

Theirs was the youngest team to reach the Western Conference

playoffs, where they pushed the star-studded Lakers to seven

games.

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

out.”

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

offseason.

”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

track.”

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

http://twitter.com/arniestapleton