Worst Trade No. 9: Swapping Andre Miller for a bust
Younger fans of the Cavaliers and the NBA may not realize that Andre Miller, more affectionately known as “The Professor” by fans, started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers after going eighth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. He played three seasons for the Cavs, leading the league in assists in his third season and receiving votes for an All-NBA berth (he finished 20th).
Then the Cavaliers inexplicably traded Miller to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2002. The Clippers had a young forward drafted right out of high school, Darius Miles, and the Cavs decided they had to have him. In an all-time quote, Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson said at the time “Darius Miles was the player we coveted in this deal…sometimes you have to make bold moves to get better in the future.” Or, you know, make dumb moves to get worse in the future.
Clippers GM Elgin Baylor likely was cackling as he dialed the phone number for the league office to call in the trade. He said publicly that the trade was made easier because they were getting one of the five best point guards in the league. He was right! Miller may have never made an All-Star team, but he is one of the best players in league history not to do so, and he had a long and successful career that spanned another 14 seasons.
Miles, on the other hand, didn’t last so long. He averaged 9.2 points per game the rest of that season and lasted just 104 games in total before the Cavs dumped him on the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004. That’s a top-5 point guard for an undisciplined washout. Welcome to the list of worst trades, Jim Paxson!