Andre Miller: $15 million man?

On July 5,’s John Hollinger reported Andre Miller’s new contract with the Nuggets would run roughly $5 million per year, with the third and final year being partially guaranteed. Now Matt Steinmetz, a contributor and Bay Area radio personality, is corroborating Hollinger’s initial announcement with an exact number. Steinmetz is reporting Miller’s contract will run $14.6 million over three years. Whether the final year is partially guaranteed has yet to be officially confirmed. It had previously been suspected that Miller would sign a deal close to $9 million over a three-year span.

There are two sides of the story when it comes to this signing.

On one hand, Andre Miller is still one of the best backup point guards in the league (perhaps the best?). He led the Nuggets in assists last season while serving as a veteran presence to a young, up-and-coming squad. His halftime speech during Game 5 of the first round of the 2011 Playoffs reportedly breathed new life into his teammates, who eventually would push the Lakers to seven games in that series. Additionally, his connection with JaVale McGee by the end of the year was inciting.

One the other hand, Miller is 36. While he’s been supernaturally durable throughout his career, Father Time is still undefeated and has a meeting scheduled with Miller in the very near future. Fifteen million is a lot of money to dish out to a backup point guard, especially one in the twilight of his career with a protege in his mid-20s who just came off a breakout season. More money for Miller likely means more time for Miller and as a result, less time for the blossoming Ty Lawson. Finally, while some see gaudy assist numbers and an aggressive scoring mentality, others see a neglect for defense and selfishness. It is important to note that on numerous occasions last season we had to downgrade Miller significantly in our Rapid Reaction recaps (far more than anyone else) as he made no attempt to play defense for large stretches of the game.

The value of Miller’s contract will likely hinge on one key factor: the third year. As imperishable as Miller appears now, it’s difficult to imagine him playing at a high level three years down the road. At least having the option of jettisoning him will be extremely beneficial.

For now, it appears coach George Karl got his wish. Masai Ujiri is constructing the team around his strengths and weaknesses like the Nuggets previous regime never could (in fact, they did quite the opposite). Unfortunately these types of deals come with a price — both figuratively and literally —  as the multitude of contracts Ujiri has dealt out over the last year and a half are beginning to add up. This signing nudges the Nuggets up close to the cap with JaVale McGee also reportedly on the brink of a new deal, Ty Lawson still in line for an extension and Quincy Miller yet to be signed.

Something has to give.

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • Gary

    That puts Denver at $2,7 million under cap with McGee and Q. Miller left to sign, but they kept GK happy.

    • Gary

      Several options come to mind to free up cap space for the McGee signing and to find a roster slot for Q. Miller:

      1. Amnesty Birdman = $4.5 million
      2, Waive Mosgov = $3.1 million
      3. Waive Stone = $762K
      4. Trade a good, young player for picks and/or a lesser player

      Doing nothing AND still signing McGee likely puts Denver over cap but under the Luxury Tax Threshold. The team forfiets its under-the-cap benefits, and opens no roster slot for Q. Miller. Somebody has to go to make that happen.

      Thanks, George, for all the cool options. The two PG offense better work this year to justify this price.

      • MileHigh

        Amnestying Bird should be a given but I’m sure they could at least get a pick or two for Mozgov (or Koufos if he’s more expendable). At this point though, it’s a tough call as to who they can do without; it’s good to have 3 point guards and 3 centers on the roster, especially when the best two power forwards on the depth chart are 6’8″ and 6’9″.

        Could they sign McGee and Q.Miller if they only amnesty Bird though, or would they not have the cap space?

        • Gary

          I think the Bird Amnesty has to be evaluated based on whether they’re going to play him at all. If not, they may as well Amnesty him. They pay him either way, but Amnesty at least gives the hope that some team will bid on him, and the Nuggets would only have to pay him the difference between his contract and what they pay him. Might save a couple million?

          • Ryan

            I think the greatest benefit from amnestying Birdman would, sadly, be opening another roster spot to keep Q Miller. The legal process is notoriously slow, so if Birdman is convicted of something icky, it would likely take quite a while. By that time, his contract would be up, so counting on using the morals clause to get rid of his contract wouldn’t be a sound strategy. Karl obviously doesn’t like Birdman, so amnesty is the best option IMO

        • Gary

          Trading good, young players like Mozgov or Koufos for picks seems a high price to pay for keeping Miller and playing the two PG offense. But, I guess making sure the coach is happy and comfortable is a higher priority than keeping the fans happy. After all, how much eptitude can you expect from the Denver Generals?

      • Gary

        The Salary Cap is $58,044.000. The Luxury Tax Threshold is $70,307,000. So, ‘yes’ they can sign McGee and Q. Miller without paying luxury tax as long as McGee’s contract doesn’t get anywhere near a max contract.

  • Gerardo

    I smell a trade coming… And a amnesty coming too

  • Tyler

    Very interesting… I feel it will be a curious few days approaching.

  • MileHigh

    Does anyone know how I can pay a one off payment and watch all the nuggets summer league games on the iPhone? Got the summer league app but when I try to buy a pass it says it’s like a subscription… Am I not able to just buy like a team pass for a one off payment or something? If someone could point me in the right direction that would be great

    • Kalen

      I’m pretty sure I just saw today that the price has been dropped to $5 for ALL Summer League games from here on out. That’s like, what, $1 per game for the Nuggets. If I were you I’d just pay that. As for the iPhone streaming, I can’t help you out there. I don’t have an iPhone.

      • MileHigh

        Cheers Kalen, I think I got it working. Will just have to wait and see.

      • SmokinNugs

        That sucks! I paid $15 for it last week. They better refund me my $10!!!

        • Ryan

          The price dropped because there are fewer games now, just like if you buy league pass mid-season it costs less…

          • SmokinNugs

            Just got my extra $10 refunded! Woop!

  • YOLO you only live once that’s the motto

    Who in the hell is running this team?? Is it Masai or george Karl’s overrated ass?? Miller is a good back up guard don’t get me wrong but there were alot of games last year where he seemed to not care and we were basically playin 4 vs 5… This is bs George Karl’s job is to coach the team that the general manager gives him!! I cannot believe we have to see three more years of this 2 guard bs and his stupid small ball crunch time line up.. What Masai should do is kick this stubborn overrated coach who always gives excuses out of this organization!! I love the nuggets but we will never be serious about winning a championship with George karl leading this team and this upsets me…

    • mitchcox21

      think about it this way.
      isnt it said that GK is good at developing young talent or something like that? he might not play thembut he is a good techer of the game. and them not playing could light the fire under them to get better so they will play (ie J-Ham)

      well with that in mind think to yourself. would we win the chip with this young roster with a different coach. answer is no. so what we do is have GK teach our young squad how to play basketball at the nba standard and once his contract runs out and our players are a bit older and better because of GK we get an awesome coach who doesnt need to develope and then bam. we win everything for 5 years straight….. :)

      • Ryan

        Well, if you’re content to perpetually wait for success, that’s fine. How does not playing players develop them? The only way they can truly learn is by doing, not wearing warmups and handing out towels. I’m fine with playing them sparingly, but give them a few chances to prove they are learning/improving.
        Also, what proof is there that GK will breed a culture of success? Numerous players have hated him and he’s won exactly 0 championships, even with considerable talent in Seattle and Milwaukee. GK gets far too much credit for his regular season victories if you ask me

  • Evan

    It’s sad. I guess taking the lakers to 7 games was enough and management is praying we go further.If we want to take that next step we have to let go of George. Masai and the front office should know that sometimes change is good. We traded Carmelo and look what happened. But i guess we’ll be serious about winning when Karl’s contract runs out.

  • TyWonOn

    Lawson is going to be looking for a max deal and deservedly so. Better free up some cash.

    • Zack

      Ty shouldn’t get the max unless he shows much improvement again this season. But yes his deal will be on the higher end. Gotta amnesty Bird to make room for Q Miller. Also, I’m really hoping that there’s gonna be a trade at some point involving Andre Miller. I HATE the 2 PG lineups where Ty has to (wants to) defer to Miller.

      • SmokinNugs

        How can he show improvement when he’s got backseat Andre on the floor all the time?

        • Ryan

          Agreed. Worst-case scenario: Lawson is fed up with watching Dre hog the ball, refuses to sign an extension before free agency, some team offers him a huge deal, Nuggets decide not to match, back to square one at PG…

  • Woobly Balls

    According to sources… Denver is offering Javale 5yrs $50 million. Which seems like a fair deal. McGee apparently isn’t in a rush to sign the deal

  • Thomas

    Whoever ends up paying that $15 million in the next 3 years for this guy is a very dumb basketball manager. Pissing money in the wind.

    I just hope it’s not us, for the sake of the fans. The owners can piss out money whichever way they please.

    • KalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKal

      He should be good trade bait at the deadline when a playoff team is desperate for a decent PG. we can only hope

      I would have preferred even someone like Jonny Flynn who is cheap with upside

  • KalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKalenJeremyCharlieKal

    I like Andre Miller…. For 15 minutes a night. And I hate the 2 PG lineup. Although it would have been interesting if we drafted tony wroten

    Hopefully we make room for the big q-stick from Waco Texas cause the kid is gon be a star

  • White Dawg Get ’em

    Maybe in a few years Dre and GKs love child will play in the 2 PG lineup for Denver.

    Trade idea-
    Dallas gets whatever

    Denver gets RODDY BEAUBOIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://Gary'sDenverThuggets Gary

    Take back everything I said earlier on this post. I must have been trippin’


    Btw great work on the blog Kalen!!!!!!

    My 94 year grandma in Uzbekistan heard about the true value of millers deal before it even occurre to you to write this very inciteful post.
    Keep it up!!!!!!!

    Go nuggets!

  • troll bag

    According to the Denver stiffs site nuggets have a $50 million deal on the table. If Masai can get this deal I’ll be extremely happy

    • troll bag

      for McGee that is

  • Nate Timmons


  • tron7

    For some reason you’re blocked on my work PC.

    • asdqqq

      If you are talking about Denver Stiffs, me too. It has a problem with “streaming media”. All of the other sbnation sites work, just Denver Stiffs doesn’t.

  • Ryan

    McGee is being smart, hoping some desperate team like Portland throws silly money at him, forces the Nuggets to pay more than they want to. If Portland wants to go into total rebuilding mode, maybe the Nuggets could swing a sign-and-trade of McGee, Chandler, and maybe a couple second-rounders for Aldridge? Wishful thinking, I’m sure. At the right price though, I would love to keep McGee.

  • asdqqq

    I like this deal better than 9 million over 3 years if the guarantee in year 3 is less than 3 million. I can’t see the extra money in the next two years mattering at all, but by year 3 I could see Andre being a liability to keep on the roster. If we resign McGee, our cap space is basically shot for the forseeable futre, barring a trade, regardless of what we are paying Miller. And we aren’t anywhere close to paying the luxury tax anytime soon.

  • ryanvdonk

    what happened to 3 years at $9 million? this deal is terrible, masai what are you thinking?

  • Peter

    For those of you wishing for Andre Miller to get traded, it’s not happening this offseason. It was reported last year that Andre was unhappy with his role and that he belives he can still be a starter in this league. Because he resinged with the Nuggets that doesn’t necessarily mean he had a change of heart, it just meant there were no other teams interested in him as a starter or were offering less money. Andre Miller really wanted to explore his free agency and realized that the grass is not always greener.

  • Tom

    3 years, $15 mil? That’s still a pretty good deal for the Nuggets. Andre Miller has been an almost great PG his whole career. Portland went from playoff hopeful to the lottery last year partly because they traded Miller for Raymond Felton, a serious downgrade. Miller still has a lot of juice left, and while he doesn’t have the quickness to stay in front of the great PGs in the league (but who does, really?), he still manages to put up excellent plus/minus numbers.

    A lot of you hate the 2 PG lineup and I’m not really sure why. The best 5-man lineups for the Nuggets over the past few years in terms of plus/minus have had 2 PGs. Andre Miller in particular was in most of the best 5-man lineups for the Nuggets last year, so honestly, I think a lot of you folks are delusional.