It's Official: Andre Miller to Portland

Press Release from the team...

TRAIL BLAZERS SIGN ANDRE MILLER

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent guard Andre Miller to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are excited to add a player of the caliber and character of Andre Miller," said Pritchard. "He is one of the league's ironmen who brings a wealth of veteran leadership to our team and is a great fit for our young and improving roster."

Miller (6-2, 205, Utah) holds career averages of 14.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.38 steals in 815 games (768 starts) during his 10 NBA seasons with Cleveland, L.A. Clippers, Denver and Philadelphia.

"I'm really excited for this opportunity with the Trail Blazers and look forward to working with my new team," said Miller.  "I hope to provide veteran leadership to a young talented nucleus and help Portland take the next step in the pursuit of a championship."

Originally selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the eighth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, Miller is tied for the 16th highest assists average (7.4) in NBA history and is currently fourth among active players. He has also played in 530 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA. Miller has missed just three games in his career.

Miller, 33, has 174 career double-doubles and averaged one for Cleveland in 2001-02 (16.5 ppg, 10.9 apg) while leading the NBA in assists that season.

During the 2008-09 season, Miller averaged 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.33 steals and shot 47.3 percent from the floor in 82 games (all starts). He ranked 14th in the NBA in assists, 15th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.68) and tied for 15th in steals. Miller recorded 12 double-doubles last season, including two triple-doubles.

Miller averaged 21.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.17 steals in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. He has career postseason averages of 17.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.30 steals in 27 games (all starts).

Kevin Pritchard is having a conference call this evening. Here are a few of his comments...

"Nate and myself had a long dinner and was absolutely convinced he was part of Blazers fabric going forward"

"He's an ironman... he makes everyone around him better... reminds me a little bit of Avery Johnson"

"We wanted to keep this 54 win team together and just add to it. Get some experience. Andre's been in big games.

"i don't see many moves. there could be smaller free agent signings... we really like [our roster]... good depth at every position." 

"We were impressed with his leadereship ability."

"I would call this [signing] a Plan C."

"Andre was terrific. He knew our team. He knew how he could help our team. He seemed like a coach. Nate and him hit it off in the first five minutes. I got out of the conversation."

"He's more of a team defender now than he has ever been before. He's able to send guys to their weaknesses. Quite frankly, we've got some big guys that really defend the paint and do a good job on the boards. We think he's going to be fine there."

"We can say it's a 3 year deal. As he gets older it's important he understands his role."

"Nate felt great about the meeting. One of the things we do is debate pretty hard, the merit of each deal. Nate was fully on board with this and you can tell the chemistry they had in the dinner we had."

"He just has that basketball savvy and knowledge that young guys need to see. He can make Greg Oden better. He can make Nicolas Batum, he can get shots for Rudy Fernandez, Brandon, LaMarcus. He said all that in the meeting. He couldn't have said it any better."

"His leadership is something we'll lean upon."

"I know we'll be a better team throughout the season and hopefully into the playoffs."

In response to a question about Bayless's role: "It's going to be competitive at every position. Nate has been pretty demonstrative in that. Good competition leads to better play."

"There's going to be competition at that point guard position. I'm not saying Andre is going to be the starter. I didn't say that. Nate didn't say that in the meeting."

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

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