Denver's Andre Miller not thrilled with role

Denver's Andre Miller not thrilled with role

Published Jan. 11, 2012 8:31 p.m. ET

DENVER — Denver Nuggets point guard Andre Miller
regularly was a starter in his first 12 NBA seasons. He's not too happy with
that changing.

Miller, who becomes a free agent after the season, said before Wednesday's game
against New Jersey that he would "probably not" return to the Nuggets
next season if the role is to back up Ty Lawson. But Miller wouldn't completely
rule that out as a possibility if no better situations were available.

"At this point in my career, I don't see myself as a backup," Miller,
who entered the NBA in 1999, said in an interview with "For
13 years, I wasn't a backup before. This is a short season (due to the
lockout), so I'll deal with it. But I don't see myself as a backup at this
point in my career. I don't see that."

Interestingly, Miller did start his first game of the season against the Nets because
Lawson was out with a right foot strain. But Lawson's injury isn't expected to
sideline him for long, and he could be back starting Friday against Miami.

Another Denver player, though, does want to stick around. Forward Danilo
Gallinari, who can become a restricted free agent next summer, told his desire is to re-sign with the Nuggets.


Miller, who was Denver's starting point from 2002-06, was reacquired on draft
night last June. There has been talk of Miller, 35, serving as a mentor for
Lawson, 24, a third-year man. But Miller said Lawson doesn't need that.

"Ty, he's worked hard. He's had his mentor with Chauncey Billups,"
Miller said of the point guard who was dealt last February from Denver, which
led to Lawson becoming the starter. "Why would they need me to come in and
put in my two cents?"

Miller said he hasn't spoke of not liking his backup role to Nuggets coach
George Karl, and that he doesn't plan to have such a conversation. Karl said
this was the first he'd heard of Miller's disappointment.

"I'm glad he's proud of himself and he wants to play," Karl said.
"But I think this still is the best opportunity for him."


One thing is for sure. Gallinari believes the Nuggets provide him the best

"I'd like to be here," Gallinari said before Wednesday's game
"If I can play here, it'd be great. ... If they give me an extension (before
next summer), it's good. If not, I will wait until after the season."

Gallinari paid close attention to Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo re-signing as a
restricted free agent before this season.

"If I can be the same that (Afflalo) did, that would be great to play in a
system you really like a lot," Gallinari said.

Miller, though, is less enthralled. He entered Wednesday averaging 28.1
minutes, in line to be his lowest in a season since his rookie year with
Cleveland in 1999-2000, and 9.8 points, which would be a career low.

"My goal is to play 15 to 17 years," Miller said. "I think I've
been pretty competitive."

Miller didn't believe there would have been a battle for the starting job with
Lawson had a lockout not significantly shortened training camp. But Miller said
he plans to have a good attitude and will "support" Lawson during the
66-game season.

"He is the guy, that's pretty clear," Miller said of Lawson. "I
understand why they brought me here, so I'm not going to dwell on this, 66
games. Move past and leave it alone."

Miller didn't totally rule out re-signing next season with Denver. But he said
that's not his preference.

"Probably not," Miller said of re-signing with the Nuggets. "It
depends on the situation. It's just something that you have to get used to. I
don't want to get used to it. But if the situation says that I have to stay
here for a couple of years, cool. But that's just something that I'd have to
worry about later on."'

Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail or on Twitter @christomasson