The Denver Nuggets have announced that they have waived Mike Miller.
We have waived veteran guard Mike Miller. pic.twitter.com/T7RJ2NUDaE— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 11, 2017
Miller’s $3.5 million contract for the upcoming season (the last in a two year deal he signed in 2015) would have become fully guaranteed tomorrow. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Miller won’t be back with the Nuggets next season, but as of right now he is not part of the team and a new deal would need to be negotiated if he were to return. Releasing Miller gives the Nuggets an extra roster spot and given the team is currently at the Las Vegas Summer League, one might wonder if this move is to clear out roster space for a summer league player. Currently Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez and Tyler Lydon are the only players on Denver’s summer league squad with a contract to play for the actual team this fall. Nikola Radicevic, Petr Cornelie and Monte Morris are all draft picks of the Nuggets on their summer league team but as of yet none have secured a deal to play with the club in the upcoming season. Denver has also been linked to point guard Brad Wanamaker, who is currently playing in Europe. Miller’s release may be the first domino to one of those guys signing on, or it may be wholly unrelated.
Now in the twilight of his career, Miller was never brought to Denver to be a major contributor. He appeared in just 67 games over two full seasons with the team and averaged just 1.4 points (did still manage to shoot 37.5% from three though). No, Miller’s contributions were and always were intended to be off the court. He joined coach Michael Malone in Denver in 2015 and was paramount to the Nuggets goal at the time which was to change what had become a dysfunctional if not altogether toxic culture around the team. Fair to say Denver accomplished that goal in Mike’s time here and no doubt he played a big part of it. Miller was the guy who could help coach up young players like Emmanuel Mudiay, yet also still be just one of the guys, blurring the line between coaching and playing.
He’ll likely earn himself an induction into the Stiffs Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done given his playing ability was so limited while in Denver, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone around the organization who thinks his time or contributions to the team over the past two years wasn’t valuable. With his departure, the Nuggets now have two fully guaranteed roster spots, and two two-way roster spots available. Miller could have been a decent trade chip as long as his salary remained non-guaranteed but with that changing tomorrow, there was little reason for the Nuggets to keep him on the books. If they don’t bring him back under a new deal, we wish Mike all the best and thanks for the memorthrees!