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Mike Miller: "My loyalties are to the Wizards"


Conventional wisdom is certainly that the Mike Miller Era has ended for the Wizards, and that last year's No. 5 pick was thus traded for a pair of one-year rentals. As Michael Lee reported:

Miller, 30, is also an unrestricted free agent, but has not closed the door on returning to the Wizards, although he said he would like to play for a contender. If both players depart, the Wizards would have nothing to show from their franchise-worst 19-win season in 2008-09.

Miller recently talked with the Argus Leader, and he made these desires clear:

"The last couple of years have taken a toll on me, as far as not being in the playoffs and not playing this time of year. So I'm looking to change that. This time, if it doesn't work out, there's no one to blame but myself."

But he also talked with Comcast SportsNet's Chris Miller out in L.A., telling Miller that having John Wall in the fold could change things. His quote:

"It changes it big time. I've said stuff to the media before the season was over and I stick to it, my loyalties are to the Wizards. I'm a Washington Wizard until I play somewhere else. What they did for me and Randy speaks to what they're trying to do there as an organization. Did it work out? Absolutely not...but to give up a fifth pick to get guys in, you're giving up a lot. You're giving up a lot of potential to know what you're getting, and that's why my loyalties are there. And I've had great relationships with those guys there. I'm a Wizard 'til it happens, and it makes it a lot easier to say yes with John Wall....

"He demands his team to play at his level, and those are the guys you want to play with....Those are the kind of guys you want to play with, because every night for 82 games you're gonna play at a high level. If you don't play at that high level, he's gonna let you know."

Well...at least Miller will leave D.C. on good terms, then. Meanwhile, please never again think about whom the Wizards could have taken with that No. 5 pick. It won't be good for your long-term mental well-being. Instead, just look back with joy on that single season of Foye and Miller.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 29, 2010; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Comments

Trading the 5th pick for one year rentals. Another reason why Leonsis will eventually have to get rid of Grunfield.

Posted by: akjproductions | June 29, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

What Michael Lee and the rest of those covering and commenting on the Wiz can't seem to grasp for the life of them, is that even if Miller and Foye leave, we still got something truly great out of trading last year's 5th pick: We were able to dump the locker room cancer Etan Thomas and his absurd contract, as well as get rid of the absolutely useless Oleksiy Pecherov. Those were hugely important additions by subtraction and are part of the reason why we have so much cap room right now.

Ernie Grunfeld tried for 3 straight seasons to trade Etan Thomas but no one around the league wanted him. The ONLY way we were ever dumping that sob was if we included a 1st round pick in the deal. Why this is so hard for people to understand, I don't know.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 29, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

>>We were able to dump the locker room cancer Etan Thomas and his absurd contract, as well as get rid of the absolutely useless Oleksiy Pecherov.

Just wondering, who was the guy that signed those two in the first place? Uh Ok.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Ah, dovelevine sounds like you either weren't paying attention back in the summer of 04 or maybe you just have a short memory. Etan was coming off a breakthrough season, the Wizards were very thin up front, and there were literally no established big men available in free agency when we re-signed him. It was the perfect storm that off season for Etan to get a lucrative contract offer (which he did, from Milwaukee) and Wizardsat fans at the time were unanimously in favor of matching Milwaukee's offer.

Of course with 20/20 hindsight, it's easy to see how that ended up being a bad decision bc of Etan's total lack of production in the years that followed, and because of his repeated fights with Brendan Haywood. But no one who was paying attention in 2004 and can remember that far back can possibly fault Ernie for that move. Every GM in the league would have done it based on the circumstances.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 29, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

>>and Wizards fans at the time were unanimously in favor of matching Milwaukee's offer.

Unanimous minus 1. Breakthrough season? Hardly. He was what he was--always. To match Milwaukee was pure absurdity. So just like the absurd contracts he locked us into for no reason with Arenas and Jamison, EG did the same with ET. And of course wasted another draft pick on Pech. And then gives them up finally for nothing including losing the #5 pick in the draft and you call that a great move? Wow!!! Talk about compounding mistake over mistake over mistake and then being applauded for it. Amazing.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

>>and Wizards fans at the time were unanimously in favor of matching Milwaukee's offer.

Unanimous minus 1. Breakthrough season? Hardly. He was what he was--always. To match Milwaukee was pure absurdity. So just like the absurd contracts he locked us into for no reason with Arenas and Jamison, EG did the same with ET. And of course wasted another draft pick on Pech. And then gives them up finally for nothing including losing the #5 pick in the draft and you call that a great move? Wow!!! Talk about compounding mistake over mistake over mistake and then being applauded for it. Amazing.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

BTW in poker we have a term for that.....throwing good money after bad money.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to hear you say you were against re-signing Etan back in the summer of 2004. Easy to claim you were against it now, but no Wizards fan was against it then. It was a no-brainer at the time. We had no one else up front other than BTH (Jared Jefferies didn't count) and the free agency market for bigs that summer was non-existent. Again, it is so easy to say we shouldn't have done it. But it is quite another thing to say, dishonestly, that you were against it at the time.

As for Arenas. Again, the overwhelming majority of Wizards fans were totally in favor of re-signing him 2 summers ago. It, again, was a no-brainer. He was a 3 time all star in his prime who had completely transformed this franchise into an annual playoff team. No one at the time knew his knee injury would keep him out another year, or that his locker room joke would cost him nearly another full season. Again, it is so easy to say we shouldn't have done it. But it is quite another thing to say, dishonestly, that you were against it at the time.

As for complaining about one bad draft pick with the Wizards, give me a break. Ernie Grunfeld has a proven track record in the draft and is among the most respected GMs in the NBA for his ability to spot talent. From drafting 3x All Star Michael Redd in the 2nd round to drafting emerging standout Andray Blatche in the 2nd round, to finding future star Javale McGee with the 18th pick--he has proven himself over and over again.

It's absurd to attack Ernie Grunfeld, the man is by far the greatest Wizards GM of the last 30 years. And it's not even close.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 29, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I truly hope Mike Miller will be back with us next season. He can play the forward positions as well eventhough he's a shooting guard. He reminds me of Larry Bird a little bit because of his long distance shooting.

Posted by: RedCherokee | June 29, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

>>I'd love to hear you say you were against re-signing Etan back in the summer of 2004

All righty then. Let's load up the bathtub time machine. Don't know why you find it so hard to believe? ET was and always has been a stiff. Period. No genius needed.

>>Ernie Grunfeld, the man is by far the greatest Wizards GM of the last 30 years. And it's not even close.

Sad. Guess that sez it all. But then again Wes and Ferry.....oh never mind.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Barno, I am a wiz fan and I did in fact disagree with matching the offer for Etan. I thought $36 million was too much for a back up when Brendan and Kwames contracts were coming up. Thought it set a bad precedent. I also wasn't ready to give up on Kwane and wanted to see what he could do with more minutes. Also trading Etan didn't create any cap space. His contract expires this summer, so moving him didn't create any additional space (but I will give you trading him improved locker room morale). Not all true Wiz fans think what you're thinking; stop trying to speak for all of us!

Posted by: detox04 | June 29, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

>>ET was and always has been a stiff. Period. No genius needed.

One thing I will give Etan though, he was and will always be the Poet who can throw it.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 29, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Ok, obviously saying every single fan of any team thinks unanimously on anything is hyperbole. But the vast majority of Wiz fans did wanted Etan re-signed and did want Gilbert re-signed. Those were not controversial decisions at the time. Some of the revisionist history on these blog comments would have you believe Ernie should be fired for doing what the majority of fans wanted him to do: re-sign his most productive players.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 29, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Boy that was bad conjugation. Was distracted sorry.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 29, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

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