Miller happy to return to the comforts of Denver
With a casual stride and an easy smile, Andre Miller felt a welcome sense of familiarity as he walked into the Nuggets locker room Monday.
“I’m happy to come back to a comfortable situation,” the veteran point guard said. “I still have my home here, and I’m familiar with the community and staff. It plays perfect for me right now.”
Nearly five years after being traded from Denver to Philadelphia as part of the Allen Iverson deal, Miller returned to the Nuggets last week as part of a draft-night trade between the Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks.
The Nuggets, who sent point guard Raymond Felton to Portland, also received the draft rights to No. 26 pick Jordan Hamilton and a future second-round selection.
“My agent told me there were possibilities of me being moved,” Miller said. “He said there as ‘active dialogue’ and left it at that.”
Miller, 35, averaged 12.7 points and 7.2 assists for the Blazers last season – his 12th in the NBA. He immediately dismissed any point-guard controversy involving incumbent starter Ty Lawson.
“I’m going to leave that up to the coaching staff,” Miller said. “At this point in my career, the main thing is to continue to do what I’ve been doing and be a leader.
“Nothing’s guaranteed. I think Felton knew that. I think Ty knows that. The main thing is they helped each other get better, and we’ll help each other get better and push each other. As long as the game is being played the right way and the players are treated fairly, I have no gripes.”
Miller’s longstanding relationship with Nuggets coach George Karl should make the transition go smoothly.
Karl is good friends with former University of Utah coach Rick Majerus, and he met Miller when Miller was a Utah freshman in 1994. Karl grew to appreciate Miller’s basketball IQ and professionalism even more when he coached him in Denver from 2005-06.
“There’s a certain respect level we have for each other,” Miller said. “He can talk to me, I can talk to him. I think he understands how I like to play and I understand the way he wants to play and why he makes decisions.”
Miller has one year remaining on his contract but says he wants to play at least three more seasons and finish his career in Denver. He has missed just six games in his career and bristles at the notion that he is an “aging” point guard.
“I have a lot in me,” he said. “I get a little irritated at times when people throw the age factor out there and they never throw it out there with the (Jason) Kidds and the (Steve) Nashes. I'm one of the more durable players in the league. I feel young, no bumps no bruises, and I'm going to continue to do the same thing.”
Denver’s locker room certainly will keep Miller feeling young. As the roster is currently constructed, only three players under contract – Miller, Chris Andersen and Al Harrington – are older than 30.
“There are some hungry players,” Miller said. “That's the main thing, being around some players that are still proving themselves in this league and earning respect. For the most part, there's a lot of talent here, inside and outside. There’s a lot of hustlers and hard workers. I'm happy to be around that.”
It certainly adds to the comforts of returning home.