July 24, 2009

LAS VEGAS -- The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract with free agent point guard Andre Miller, a source familiar with the negotiations told SI.com. The deal includes a team option for a third season at $7 million.

Miller, one of the top free agents remaining on the market, has played for the 76ers since being traded from Denver in the middle of the 2006-2007 season. Since free agency opened the 76ers interest in re-signing Miller has been lukewarm, primarily because Miller was seeking a three or four year contract and the Sixers, who have made a commitment to building around young players, preferred to give the 33-year old Miller a one or two year deal. Philadelphia drafted point guard Jrue Holiday with the No. 17 pick in the draft last month and considered Holiday it's point guard of the future.

Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala, in Las Vegas for the USA Basketball mini camp, expressed disappointment that Miller would not be returning.

"It's a tough summer for guys," said Iguodala. "I wanted him back. He was a great teammate."

The Trail Blazers had been attempting to sign a player with their nearly $10 million in cap space for weeks. They believed they had a deal in place with Hedo Turkoglu but Turkoglu spurned the Blazers for Toronto at the 11th hour. Last week the Blazers signed forward Paul Millsap to an offer sheet but it was matched by Utah. Portland also was interested in David Lee, going as far as sending top executives Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn and head coach Nate McMillan to meet with Lee in Las Vegas. But Lee's contract demands ($10 million per season) and restricted free agent status scared the Trail Blazers off.

Miller is expected to step into the starting position that was occupied by Steve Blake last season. Blake, who has been the full time starter in Portland for each of the last two seasons, could ask for a trade. One Western Conference executive expressed surprise that Blake was not involved in a sign-and-trade deal for Miller.

"I figured they would get something for him," said the executive. "And Blake played in Washington so he knows [Sixers coach] Eddie Jordan's system."

A formal announcement on Miller's signing could come this weekend.

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