6 NBA Teams That Should Pursue Andre Miller Trade with Denver Nuggets
Even if Andre Miller's frustration with his role (or lack thereof) in the Denver Nuggets' rotation has led to him being planted firmly on the trade block, the veteran point guard still has plenty to offer to whichever new team acquires him.
We can start looking ahead to Miller's next stop because, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, his exit from Denver is a foregone conclusion:
After a two-game suspension turned into an indefinite exile on Monday, the Nuggets are motivated to move Miller within the next 24 to 48 hours, league sources said. It has become clear to rival executives that Denver is moving quickly on engineering trade scenarios and completing a deal.
The Nuggets have reached the point of trading Miller following the point guard's sideline outburst and a subsequently unproductive meeting between him and head coach Brian Shaw.
Per the Associated Press (via ESPN), Shaw said: "It just came to a boiling point. We made a decision and we're moving forward."
With that in mind, now seems like a good time to look around the league at which teams should make a play for Miller. As a caveat, the short answer is "almost all of them."
Miller is due to make just $5 million this season and he can be bought out for just $2 million next year, per ShamSports.com. Any team acquiring him would get a low-cost professional with years of NBA effectiveness and something to prove—virtually no strings attached.
Instead of pointing out the obvious and saying every team should take a run at him, we'll run down the seven teams that could most use Miller's services.
Golden State Warriors
Head coach Mark Jackson seems reluctant to let Andre Iguodala function as a backup point guard when Stephen Curry leaves the floor, which has resulted in the combination of Kent Bazemore and Toney Douglas leading a woefully ineffective cast of reserves.
Essentially, when Curry isn't on the court, Golden State's offense completely collapses.
While it's possible that Bazemore could still become a useful rotation player in the NBA, it now appears that he won't do so as a primary ball-handler. His penchant for turnovers is just too strong.
And Douglas, an energetic defender who has been a reliable three-point shooter in the past, isn't a natural distributor by any stretch.
Unfortunately, the team doesn't have many appealing assets to offer Denver in exchange.
Per David Aldridge of NBA.com, that fact (and the Warriors' recent nine-game winning streak) has dulled whatever sense of urgency the Dubs might be feeling about their backup point guard spot: "Source says despite reports, Warriors are not making a move for disgruntled Nuggets guard Andre Miller."
A few more ugly games from Bazemore and Douglas could change things in a hurry, though.
Per Drew Garrison of SB Nation, the connection between Sacramento's new head of personnel and Miller is a strong one: "Kings general manager Pete D'Alesandro previously worked with Miller when he was still a part of Denver's front office and is intrigued with the idea of using him as a mentor to Isaiah Thomas."
Whether that familiarity is enough to get a trade done is another question. Logically, though, adding Miller to a young team in need of leadership makes plenty of sense.
As a veteran with loads of experience and more savvy than almost any point guard in the league, the Professor could serve as an excellent instructor for the immensely talented, but often erratic, Thomas. If Miller could acclimate himself to the idea of losing a whole lot of games, he'd be an excellent fit in Sacramento.
Besides, somebody has to fill the deliberate, plodding shoes of the departed Greivis Vasquez. And Miller's perfect for that.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Based on the outburst that got him suspended in the first place, it's pretty clear that Miller still wants to play a significant role for whatever team is paying him. But I'm willing to bet he'd accept a reduced role if he was part of a highly successful franchise.
Winning has a way of quieting discontent that way.
If the Oklahoma City Thunder came calling, which they should, Miller could find himself in a situation that would suit him just fine.
Admittedly, it's rare for Miller to represent the younger, more physically able option. But with 39-year-old Derek Fisher manning backup duties to Reggie Jackson while Russell Westbrook recovers from knee surgery, it's pretty clear that Miller would be an upgrade.
Fisher has been done for years, and hasn't shot above 39 percent from the field since the 2009-10 season. Miller, on the other hand, is a better passer, a more clever defender and is shooting 46 percent from the floor this year, right in line with his career average.
I'm sure D-Fish has some intangible, preachy value in OKC's locker room, but if Westbrook's recovery is a slow one, Miller would be the much bigger help on the court.
Based on their interest in Lowry, it stands to reason that the Wolves would also be intrigued by Miller. Plus, it's pretty clear that Minnesota needs somebody to play behind starter Ricky Rubio.
J.J. Barea has been the best option this season, but he's better utilized as a gunner than as a distributor off the bench. A.J. Price has barely played, and Alexey Shved has been absolutely awful.
Miller would immediately become the best backup on the roster. Getting him there is the tricky part, though. Perhaps Denver would be interested in getting back rookie Shabazz Muhammad, Shved and a pick in the exchange.
With a playoff spot still within reach and a desire to prove to Kevin Love that winning is the top priority, Minnesota could do itself a real favor by pursuing Miller.
New York Knicks
No team was more involved in the Lowry rumors than the New York Knicks, so it stands to reason that some member of James Dolan's CAA cabal has already been on the phone with the Nuggets about Miller.
Even with both Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni nearing returns from injury, the Knicks could still stand to bolster their backcourt.
Miller certainly wouldn't command the kind of package New York reportedly offered the Raptors for Lowry (According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Knicks were ready to part with Felton, Metta World Peace and either Tim Hardaway Jr. or a 2018 first-round pick.), but perhaps some reduced version of that offer could work.
It's never safe to rule Dolan or the Knicks out of anything, even if acquiring Miller—a sensible move—makes this potential trade a little outside the norm for New York.
Per the Nets:
Following an MRI on Monday, January 6, Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams was diagnosed with a sprained left ankle. Williams was treated with a cortisone shot in the ankle joint, as well as platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections into the lateral ligaments of the ankle. In addition, Williams received a PRP injection into his right ankle and a cortisone injection into his right ankle joint to relieve inflammation.
Brooklyn has actually been playing much better as of late, winning three straight contests to move within a single game of the No. 8 spot in the East. Williams isn't expected to miss significant time, but it's difficult to imagine him either a) holding up over the rest of the season, or b) playing at anything close to his previous level.
As everyone knows, the Nets want to win right now. Bringing on a 37-year-old point guard to solidify a position currently manned by a broken Williams and a somewhat limited Shaun Livingston makes perfect sense.
The challenge will be working out a deal that gives Denver something it wants in return. Brooklyn isn't exactly flush with assets, but a little creativity (and the willingness to part with Mirza Teletovic) could be a start.