After today's practice concluded, a nearly 30 minute, searing argument between Andre Miller and coach Nate McMillan spilled off the court and through the closed door into the media room. Things were dead quiet, but after a lifetime of punk rock shows and motorcycling, my hearing is completely busted anyway. Luckily, the Columbian's Brian T. Smith was able to decipher a few bits, most notably:
Miller loudly disagreed with McMillan, at one point stating, "I ain't going to take this (stuff)."When we were allowed in to the facility Miller was nowhere to be found, and Coach McMillan refused to comment, though GM Kevin Pritchard offered some spin. "What we want is an open dialogue," said Pritchard. These sorts of things happen, he continued, "if you're a good team."
McMillan later fired back: "You don't play the way we want to play."
Asked to weigh in on what transpired between McMillan and Miller, Brandon Roy looked far off into the distance. He wanted no part of it, but said Miller is "trying to feel his way through this team," and that "everybody is a little frustrated. It happens when expectations are high."
It seems safe to say now, that Miller's ticket out of Portland is as good as punched. It's only a matter of time. What confounds, however, is how things got to this point. When the Blazers were considering signing Miller in the off-season, and when he and McMillan dined together, what gave them the illusion that they were on the same page? Was interest in Miller so low that he said all the right things to get the best contractual situation? Or did the two just completely misread each-other?
The more I look at it, the situation reminds me somewhat of Allen Iverson's recent dilemma. Basically, a guy who felt he could help the team is pushed to the backseat because the franchise feels like going in another direction. And maybe in the long term the franchise is correct, but in their current situation Miller--like Iverson--feels he can help the Blazers win. The feelings would seem justified, especially since he's been rather hot in the last two games.
Miller's 22 point, 16 assist performance at the Clippers could be argued as the most productive game by a Blazer point guard this season. Hosting Memphis the next day, Miller had 16 points and 10 rebounds, yet didn't play any substantial fourth quarter minutes. And when the team stagnates, then flounders completely down the stretch as they did against the Grizzlies--scoring one point and no field goals in the final 3:45--Miller would seem to have a valid argument.
It's too bad McMillan won't come clean with his two cents on this issue. Because by the numbers, it's hard to understand his point of view. But I will say, it does feel a little reminiscent of the Sarge persona that just can't let up on the reins.