The summer of 2017 has already delivered a tremendous blessing to Darius Miller, but it’s about to get even better. On Thursday, the 27-year-old forward officially signed a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, marking his return to the Crescent City, after he played a total of 102 games for the franchise from 2012-14. Darius and his wife, Brynne, are now awaiting the birth of the couple’s second child, a daughter.
During Miller’s appearance as a guest Thursday on Sirius XM NBA Radio, he pointed out that he’s eager to head to New Orleans and begin working out with his new teammates, but for now he’s in Cincinnati, which is about an hour from his hometown of Maysville, Ky.
“I’ll probably be going down pretty soon, but I’ve got a baby on the way this week, so I haven’t had a chance to get down there,” Miller said of Brynne being pregnant with a second girl.
Miller’s return to the NBA comes after he spent three seasons playing overseas in Germany for Brose Bamberg, winning three championshipss. He averaged 12.2 points in 2016-17 and shot 41.1 percent from three-point range. His appearance on Sirius XM featured a distinct New Orleans flavor, as it was hosted by sixth-year Pelicans TV broadcaster Joel Meyers, who asked several team-related questions. Miller noted that he’s returning to stateside basketball a different player, having benefited from the experience of being a focal point offensively for his German team.
“It’s definitely confidence, and being on the court, having game reps,” he said of his improvement. “I was one of the main guys on the team, so I got a lot more shots, a lot more experience on the court. As I got more comfortable, the confidence came. It just turned out different.
“(Germany) was a really great experience for me. I got to add on to my game a little bit. I got a lot of experience on the court and playing at a high level. It’s been great for me to grow as a person and a player.”
Although the majority of New Orleans’ current roster is unfamiliar to Miller, he was a Kentucky teammate of both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins for one season apiece. In addition, the Pelicans recently added another former UK player from the mid-2000s, point guard Rajon Rondo.
“Even the guys that weren’t (in college) at the same time, everybody goes back to UK and really spends time with each other,” Miller said of the quartet, alluding also to the friendship between Davis (played at UK in 2011-12) and Cousins (2009-10).
Miller and Davis combined to win a national championship in 2012 – coincidentally winning the title game over Kansas in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – while Miller and Cousins were part of a 35-3 squad that advanced to the Elite Eight in ’10. Miller is looking forward to rejoining his fellow Wildcats, having been a New Orleans teammate of Davis already for two-plus seasons.
“I really enjoyed playing with both of them,” he said of the Pelicans’ All-Star duo, which was inadvertently nicknamed “Fire and Ice” by Cousins during his February introductory press conference. “They’re both great guys. They’re both competitive, very passionate on the court. You can’t go wrong with two guys like that.”