Since I spent most of my morning waiting for the Portland Trailblazers to finish practice -- they practiced for about 2 hours the day before a game -- and then 75 more minutes waiting for Andre Miller to finish his extra shooting routine, I figured I should post the conversation with the 76ers former starting point guard. Last summer, the Sixers offered Miller only a 1-year deal. Miller wanted a longer deal. The Sixers said they didn't want to sign Miller, who is 33, to a longer deal because they wanted to see how Lou Williams would handle the point guard spot. And they drafted Jrue Holiday, also a point guard. Today, the Sixers maintained that reasoning for letting Miller walk away verifying that what they said this summer is exactly why they didn't re-sign him. Miller signed with the Portland Trailblazers for 2 years plus a team option for the 3rd. He's getting about $7 million a year.
Per usual, Miller was soft-spoken and thoughtful with his answers. Here's the conversation:
Did you think this summer would transpire as it did?
"Nah, I didn’t. I figured I had two good years there; I figured they would want to keep me. But [as it went along] I could tell it wasn’t going to happen."
"There wasn’t no money available to pay me. So that was the problem right there."
Who were the leaders, other than you, on last year's team?
"Everybody stepped up: [Andre] Iguodala, Willie Green. Everybody pretty much played off of those two guys, they showed leadership."
Have you paid attention to the Sixers this year?
"I know they have problems; I know they’re struggling."
For a guy who spent two years there, any idea why they're struggling?
"I think it’s just they’re playing under a new system. I think that’s it. Those guys are athletes over there and they want to get up and down the court and fast break and force turnovers and I think right now they’re getting taught, basically, how to play college basketball. Passing and cutting and stuff like that."
Is that a good system for them?
"I don’t know. It’s hard, some guys over there didn’t go to college. That’s a system that’s going to take time. That’s a lot of athletes over there. It takes time and you have to be a thinker at the same time.
Did you want to remain with the Sixers?
"Actually I did. Actually, that was the No. 1 priority because I felt the two times we made it to the playoffs we actually had opportunities to advance. So I just thought with a little bit more time to gel together you know we definitely had a chemistry when I was over there. I did want to stay if [Ed] Stefanski wanted to bring me back."
Is it odd to you that they brought back Allen Iverson, who's older than you?
"That’s their problem now. I showed durability in this league. My game hasn’t declined, you know, it’s gotten better over the years and I’m healthy. That’s just an excuse to say, 'The reason we didn’t bring him back was because we felt his years were behind him,' which is bull … it was just the money, that’s all."
Who would you think would be the leader of this year's team?
"I think Iguodala. He’s the one that’s shown leadership. He took some of that role last year and the years I was there. It’s tough when you’re a young guy with so many expectations and then there’s a coaching change and you have to sit there and take in the system that he wants to put in. And you’re trying to teach yourself at the same time."
So there's Andre Miller's take on a number of Sixers topics. I figured since I spent three hours waiting for Miller at the practice facility (an insanely nice practice facility, by the way), that I should at least post a video of Miller shooting with his son. You can check that out in the Deep Sixer video player below on the right. Also, if you missed the post from earlier this morning, scroll down, it's called "7-22".
That's all for today ...