Wake-up call: Andre Miller eager to return

Wake-up call: Andre Miller eager to return
May 29, 2014, 6:00 am
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Andre Miller, like Drew Gooden and other free agents have said before him, wants back in with the Wizards. Though unlike Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza who are unrestricted and could choose another path, it'll be up to the team to bring back Miller.

Miller, acquired in a Feb. 20 trade with the Denver Nuggets, finally gave the Wizards a competent backup for John Wall after the failed experiment with Eric Maynor.

"The business side always throws you a loop. Hopefully they can figure out how to keep a nice good core group of guys together," said Miller, who is due to be paid $4.6 million for 2014-15 or be bought out for a fraction of that and become a free agent again. "I'd like to be a part of that. ... I feel like I have a lot more years left and I can be in the rotation of a lot of teams in this league."

Miller, 38, had success with the second unit as the Wizards advanced to the second round of the playoffs before falling in six games to the Indiana Pacers. It was the first time in his 15 seasons that he'd made it out of the first round. Miller often shared the floor with Bradley Beal and there wasn't a drop-off.

In Game 1 of a first-round series vs. the Chicago Bulls, Miller scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Wizards had erased a 13-point deficit. Miller's ability to post up smaller guards gave his team a different look, spread the floor and at times looked effortless. Look at the dearth of ball-handlers under contract for next season. There's likely a place for Miller, and his relationship with Wall and coach Randy Wittman will be reasons why. Al Harrington, who might not return or even play again pending left shoulder surgery and healing a sore right knee, made the assist. 

"I told coach it's probably the first time in my career I've gotten text messages from guys saying, 'Welcome to the team.' I saved Al's number and I'm not a guy that communicates and text messages back and forth with my teammates but I text him to ask him about how he feels about the organization and his time while he's playing here," said Miller, who played for Wittman in 1999 when he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. "He's like 'Dre, you've got to get over here. It's a good community. Good management. Good guys. I think you would fit in right here.' I was like, 'OK that's all I need to know. ' Everything played out just right for me.

"I actually enjoyed watching some of these young guys mature in the playoffs and to be able to do some of the things that they were doing, playing high-level minutes, competing against veteran players. I thought they exceed probably the expectations of a lot of people."