The Washington Wizards, pushing for their first playoff berth since 2008, acquired disgruntled point guard Andre Miller from the Denver Nuggets on Thursday in a three-way trade that also involves the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Wizards gave up two seldom-used players – forward Jan Vesely and point guard Eric Maynor. Vesely goes to the Nuggets, while Maynor gets shipped to the 76ers.
Philadelphia receives two second-round draft picks, one from the Wizards in 2015 and one from the Nuggets in 2016. Washington receives a protected 2014 second-round pick from the 76ers.
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Miller hasn’t played since his shouting match with coach Brian Shaw in the waning minutes of a loss to the 76ers on New Year’s Day. The Nuggets initially suspended Miller for two games, then rescinded the suspension and announced that he would instead be excused from all team activities for personal reasons.
”Obviously we did our homework,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said. ”I think that was an isolated situation, an isolation incident. We’re going to move past that.”
Miller, who turns 38 next month, has played with five teams over 15 NBA seasons. He averaged 5.9 points and 3.3 assists for the Nuggets this season.
The Wizards are under pressure from owner Ted Leonsis to end their playoff drought, with both team president Ernie Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman in the final year of their contracts. Washington is currently fifth in the watered-down Eastern Conference, but the team has lost five of seven to fall two games under .500.
”Our goal was all along to make the playoffs,” Grunfeld said. ”We’ve put ourselves in a position where we’re right there.”
The Wizards will be counting on Miller to add depth to a rotation that has been shrinking during the season, with Wittman asking more from All-Star John Wall and other starters while relying less on the bench. Maynor, acquired last summer to be Wall’s backup, has disappeared almost entirely, having played just seven minutes in the last 27 games.
Vesely has been a major disappointment since being selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He has played in 33 games this season, and only five of the last 14, while averaging 3.2 points.
Grunfeld said Vesely didn’t develop quickly enough into the player the Wizards were expecting.
”He wasn’t consistent enough for us,” Grunfeld said.
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