2012 NBA Free Agency: Andre Miller Will Only Be A Backup For A 'Championship-Caliber Team'

Veteran point guard Andre Miller was a big asset for the Denver Nuggets in the 2011-12 NBA season, but when he hits unrestricted free agency this summer, Denver is going to have a tough time keeping him around. It won't be for lack of trying. Head coach George Karl explained during that playoffs that he just wants Miller to give the team "a chance to communicate how much we would like to get him back this summer." However, young PG Ty Lawson is eligible for an extension this summer, and Miller warned back in January that "I don't see myself as a backup...This is a short season, so I'll deal with it. But I don't see myself as a backup at this point in my career. I don't see that."

In other words, if the team makes a lucrative extension offer to Lawson, Miller could easily be on another team next season. As he told Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post after the team was eliminated from the 2012 NBA Playoffs: "I'll keep my options open. At this point in my career, if I'm going to be a backup, I'm going to be a backup on a championship-caliber team." Miller did say the Nuggets are a team that can compete and get out of the first round, but reiterated that he sees himself as an NBA starter and if the free agent market leaves him searching for a backup role he wants to join "a team that's going to compete for a championship, and not use youth as a crutch or inexperience as a crutch."

Miller may be a bit on the decline -- the 36-year-old posted a career-low in PER (14.8), a career-high in turnover rate and his lowest TS% since the 2002-03 season -- but the Nuggets were a better team with him on the floor in terms of point-differential, shooting percentage and percentage of field goals assisted.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver. For more in-depth coverage, head over to Nuggets blog Denver Stiffs. And for updates from around the league, check out SB Nation's NBA news hub.

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