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Andre Miller returns to Denver on Sunday for the first time since the Nuggets traded him to the Washington Wizards. And it's clear he's still a little bothered by how he left the Mile High City.
"I was made out to be the bad guy, the villain because I was the one complaining about minutes," Miller told Yahoo Sports. "That wasn't the issue at all."
When the Nuggets ended Miller's streak of playing in 239 consecutive games – with the first "Did Not Play-Coach's Decision" of his career – on Jan. 1, Miller screamed at first-year coach Brian Shaw. Miller also had a tirade in the locker room after the game, sources said. The Nuggets suspended him for two games without pay after the incident before excusing him from team activities with pay until the trade.
"They gave me an opportunity to represent Denver," Miller said. "I tried to do that the right way, but I was looked at as the bad guy, a disgruntled player. [The Nuggets said] I was complaining about minutes and that was never the issue. They made it look that way, and that I was upset. I understand that they have to protect themselves as an organization, but don't blast the player.
"I came out and represented the organization, played games, practiced and did it the right way. Don't bash me. It's not true saying I was disgruntled about minutes and complaining. In reality, I was just speaking up for guys on the team and being a veteran leader. I was just doing my job."
Shaw and Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly declined to comment on Miller's situation through a team spokesman. The Nuggets considered Miller's tirade a one-time incident that was out of character for the veteran.
Miller told reporters in Washington after the trade that he "lost his cool," was "unprofessional" and that he apologized to his teammates. Miller says there is a lot more to the story.
"A lot of people don't actually know what happened," Miller said. "I didn't get a chance to say my peace. I'll leave it at that."
Miller played for the Nuggets from 2003-06 and again from 2011-14. With exception of that incident, he was regarded as a consummate professional. He lives in Denver in the offseason and met his wife there. He said he is looking forward to seeing some of his old teammates and members of the Nuggets organization. Miller said he envisioned finishing his career in Denver prior to his incident.
Miller doesn't plan to go out of his way to talk to Shaw, but does wish him the best.
"He has to do his job," Miller said. "A young coach – it's a learning experience for him and the players dealing with that situation. Hopefully, things will work out for him."
Shaw has previously said his communication with Miller could've been better. Miller wished the same.
"It's really not about coach, player," Miller said. "It's really about communication from the top. In a team meeting we talked about communication between the coaches and the players. Anybody can coach, but how do you deal with players and egos and attitudes and communicate with people – that's the main thing.
"I communicated on my end. There was no communication on their end."
The Nuggets, who have suffered through several injuries, are expected to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Miller said it was a blessing in disguise to be traded to the Wizards, who are expected to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
"I get a chance to play with John Wall, Bradley Beal and form some other relationships with players and management on a different team," Miller said. "I understand what point I am in my career. I've never been a guy with an ego. I've always been a team guy to a fault."
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