Andre Miller still hasn't returned for the Nuggets, and it's starting to look like he never will.
As much as I hoped that somehow Brian Shaw and 'Dre would find a way to mend fences, it appears more and more that their differences are irreconcilable. With Ty Lawson dealing with a rotator cuff injury and the extent of the knee injury suffered by Nate Robinson last night against the Bobcats still unknown, ironically, the one thing the Nuggets could use right now is the services of a veteran point guard. Though it certainly seemed like 'Dre was on his way out with the offseason signing of Robinson, he still provided some decent contributions at the point early in the season. At the very least, he's decent injury insurance for this team for situations exactly like this.
So what do the Nuggets do with the Professor? While his name has been bandied about by the front office for more than three weeks, Tim Connelly has seemingly turned up his nose at the trade offers to this point. However, both the Kings and the Timberwolves continue to pursue Miller's services. ESPN commentator Darren Wolfson [h/t Sactown Royalty] seems positive that Miller is going to the Kings.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Soibel">@Soibel</a> I think Andre Miller surely goes somewhere. The Kings would be my bet. I think the Pistons will also do some stuff. Maybe Monroe.</p>— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) <a href="https://twitter.com/DarrenWolfson/statuses/428518111856168961">January 29, 2014</a></blockquote>
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So who - or what - would the Nuggets target on each team?
There has apparently been one overture from the Kings for Andre Miller already:
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Kings offered "Marcus Thornton and a future second-round pick as the framework of a deal for Miller, and have presented a package including Jimmer Fredette and a future second as an alternative."
Yuck. I'm not a fan of either Thornton or Fredette and really don't see roles for either of them on this Nuggets team. The Kings also don't own a second round pick until 2018, which makes any potential benefit from a pick far into the future. I don't blame Connelly for holding out on that pupu platter from old friend (and now Kings GM) Pete D'Alessandro. I think that if anything, Connelly has countered with a larger package - perhaps for DeMarcus Cousins? - and been rebuffed. Otherwise, not much else makes sense for the Nuggets to target, and the Kings certainly aren't giving up Isaiah Thomas. The Nuggets could also involve another team in a deal - perhaps the Knicks - to try and pry a more favorable asset, though multi-team deal are always extremely difficult to make work.
Less clear is what the Timberwolves may come up with. With a smattering of average to bad point guards in J.J. Barea, Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved, and A.J. Price, I don't see how the Timberwolves could be interested unless they're sending a guard back along with some other filler. There are definitely some intriguing options the Wolves could be amenable to in a trade for Andre Miller, though the Nuggets would likely need to send out additional players to make the salaries work. If the Nuggets could somehow divest themselves of, say, Andre Miller and J.J. Hickson simultaneously while bringing back Alexey Shved and the slowly recovering Chase Budinger, I would consider that a fair deal (that also saves the Nuggets money) though not an ideal one.
The Nuggets are in a difficult position. With Andre Miller having essentially forced the Nuggets to trade him or get nothing from his roster spot for the remainder of the season, he's hurt a lot of the potential leverage the front office holds. Sadly, the potential serious knee injury to Nate Robinson (to add vinegar to the open wound of the Nuggets current roster situation) could make Andre Miller just the thing this team needs right now.
If only they could figure out how to get him back on the court.