MILWAUKEE — One of the most bizarre periods in Nuggets history has ended, with the team having traded disgruntled point guard Andre Miller to the Washington Wizards.
In the three-team trade, the Nuggets got 6-foot-11 forward Jan Vesely and Philadelphia received guard Eric Maynor and draft picks.
In another deal, the Nuggets traded swingman Jordan Hamilton to the Houston Rockets for veteran Aaron Brooks, fulfilling their need for a point guard. Brooks had to agree to a trade to be moved. He did.
Much to the joy of Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly who said, "It shows his level of commitment to come play for (Nuggets coach) Brian (Shaw) and the opportunity that exists here."
The Miller trade closed a 50-day standoff between the organization and Miller, who was excused from all team activities after screaming at coach Brian Shaw during the team's Jan. 1 game against Philadelphia. Miller was upset with not being put into that game. After initially suspending Miller without pay, the Nuggets reinstated him but did not allow him around the team.
Miller's absence was largely a non-issue until the Nuggets began losing point guards to injury. First, reserve Nate Robinson went down with an ACL injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. Then, starter Ty Lawson sustained a serious of injuries. He's currently out with a fractured rib. The loss of Miller, Robinson and Lawson has left the team without a true point guard on the roster.
And, all the while, Miller sat. He was not under official suspension so he continued to be paid while the team sorted through its options on the trade market. The crux of the issue was the relationship between Miller and Shaw, which was broken beyond repair.
Now, he's gone.
Meanwhile, Brooks and Vesely offer options. There is no future financial impact as both have expiring contracts. The chances of either one returning next season is slim, but nothing can be ruled out. Vesely would be the player to watch most in this scenario. At 23 years old, he was a lottery pick just three years ago, and entered the league with a reputation of being an athletic, if raw, wing. The sample size wouldn't be huge, but a fresh start might do him some good after he averaged just 3.5 points and 3.4 rebounds with the Wizards.
"It's not often you get a chance to get a 30-game look at the sixth pick in the draft from a couple years ago," Connelly said. "His versatility kind of fits the mold of player that we're attracted to. Hopefully he comes here, it's a fresh slate and we'll see what he can do."
Brooks gives the Nuggets insurance at the point guard spot for the remainder of the season. And the pace at which he plays, coupled with his ability to put big scoring numbers up, was attractive to Denver.
"We started with three point guards and then injuries and the Andre situation left us short-staffed, and it's unfair to the coaching staff and our players," Connelly said. "Some of the guys were playing out of position because of no options there. I think Aaron has proven to be a very good NBA player. He's got a long track record of production."
As for Miller, Connelly said, "I think it's important that everyone understands that's Brian's locker room. (Miller) was out-of-character. He's a pro."