Posted Jul 21 2010 6:25AM
HOUSTON (AP) -- Brad Miller signed with the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, reuniting the 7-foot center with his favorite coach in Rick Adelman.
Miller signed a three-year, $15 million contract to back up Yao Ming, who is expected to be ready for next season after sitting out a year to recover from foot surgery.
"We've been looking for somebody to give us strong minutes at the center spot and pair with Yao Ming for some time,'' Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said.
The 34-year-old Miller, who is entering his 13th NBA season, thinks his presence will help make things easier for Yao.
"I want to work with Yao and try to make him not play so many minutes a game because our success if we've got a 7-foot-5 Yao back there is going to be a lot different than like last year when we had (6-6) Chuck Hayes when Yao got hurt,'' Miller said. "When you're that big you can't play 38, a lot of minutes for 82 games a year. I really want to help him.''
Without Yao's size last season, the Rockets went 42-40 and missed the playoffs. Morey believes Yao will be ready for this season and said "everything is on schedule'' for Yao to be ready to practice on the first day of training camp.
"Getting Yao Ming back we feel like now we have the big dog we needed to be a real contender in the West,'' Morey said. "Then Brad fills a huge need. Especially with Yao Ming probably playing limited minutes early in the season, Brad's going to have a big role to fill that gap.''
Miller spent last season with Chicago and played for Adelman from 2003-2006 when he coached the Sacramento Kings.
He said he's wanted to play for the Rockets since Adelman was hired in Houston and that joining this team was his No. 1 choice. He averaged 14.1 points and a career-best 10.3 rebounds in his first year under Adelman in the 2003-04 season and was selected to his second straight All-Star team.
"Obviously the concepts are known real well,'' he said of Adelman's system. "When we play against Houston they'd make a call and I'd tell the guys they're running it wrong. 'You're in the wrong place right now.' I'll be keeping the guys familiar with what Rick really wants to do.''
Miller appeared in 82 games last season for the Bulls and averaged 8.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. He has career averages of 11.7 points and 7.5 rebounds in his 12 NBA seasons.
He knows that his job is to help Yao and the fact that he'll be a backup didn't damper his enthusiasm for playing in Houston.
"I just want to win,'' Miller said. "There's other teams that obviously made good offers and were very persistent, calling and texting, but I don't care. I might finish a game, Yao might finish it. I could care less. I have no concerns. I'm well past that point of caring about personal accolades.''
Morey lauded team owner Leslie Alexander for spending the money it took to get Miller to Houston. Morey said Alexander feels this is a team worth investing in, especially with Yao returning this season.
"I think with the key guys like Yao Ming and Shane Battier on our team ... and the lockout next year, we're trying to make this a very special year and go as far in the playoffs as we can,'' Morey said. "And we feel like if we can all be focused like Brad and just worry about the team and not worry about anything personal, we feel like we're going to have a very good year.''
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