Sixers Notes: Ex-Sixer Miller blazing new trails

Posted: December 01, 2010

76ers Notes

It may be water long gone under the bridge, but the 76ers are still feeling the repercussions of not re-signing point guard Andre Miller.

On Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers played the Portland Trail Blazers, Miller's new team.

Since Miller signed as a free agent with the Trail Blazers before the 2009-10 season, the Sixers had a record of 31-68 entering the game.

There are other factors for the Sixers' backslide - coaching changes, multiple trades, a few injuries - but the decision to lowball Miller during that summer's contract negotiations remains a key component of the regression.

While Miller has been a mainstay as Portland's point guard, the Sixers anointed Lou Williams their point guard of the future then quickly turned over the reins to Jrue Holiday.

Miller, 34, was averaging 13.6 points and 7.4 assists entering the game.

"The guy is a warrior," said Portland coach Nate McMillan. "He shows up every day whether it's practice or games. Even though he's playing with some sore spots on him, you won't know, because he plays through it. When we've had guys out or down, he has stepped up his game to take more of the load to become more aggressive offensively, or whatever is needed."

In the summer of 2009, Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski offered Miller a one-year, $5 million contract and explained the decision by pointing out Miller's age and his defensive liabilities.

"I've never been a defensive liability," Miller said Tuesday. "Since I've been in the league I've proved that I can guard point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards."

In 2009, Miller signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Trail Blazers, the third year of which is a team option.

Before the game, Miller made it clear that questioning his quickness was a mistake.

"All false, all false," Miller said when asked about the statements from that summer. "I'm just as quick as any other guard, I'm just deceptive. . . . You know, I try not to look at the negative things, I try to stay positive about my situation. I couldn't control it."

Back, but out

Sixers forward Jason Kapono, who missed the four previous games for personal reasons, was with the team Tuesday but was deactivated by coach Doug Collins. Kapono and rookie Craig Brackins, sent to the NBA Development League, were on the inactive list.

- Kate Fagan

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