The Miami Heat won’t be returning all of its pieces from last season when it begins play again later this year. Veteran forward Mike Miller has been released from the team via the amnesty provision, despite Heat president Pat Riley saying he would not do that just a little while before.
Three weeks earlier, Riley stated that “we don’t feel like it’s necessary” in regards to using the amnesty provision to clear the $12.8 million that Miller was due as a result of his contract.
The decision to amnesty Mike Miller is one that will save the Heat a great deal of money. Despite only carrying a cap hit of $6.8 million this season had he remained with the team, Miami is saving about $16 million this season by making the move. Luxury tax increases are to blame for high cost of keeping Miller, the league increased the punitive rate for next season.
Miami Heat will still have to pay the remainder of Mike Miller’s contract, however it will not count for luxury tax purposes.
In a statement Pat Riley spoke about the team’s efforts to avoid the amnesty provision on Mike Miller as well as their failed attempts to solve the issue in other ways. “After many discussions internally and a sincere effort to explore the trade market, we made a very difficult decision to use our Amnesty provision on Mike Miller. Mike had an incredible impact on the Miami Heat; helping us to three finals appearances and winning back-to-back World Championships. This was a very difficult decision for me personally, the Arison family, Erik (Spoelstra) and the entire Miami Heat organization. Mike was one of the best we have ever had here, and will be sorely missed.”
Perhaps anticipating the amnesty he received Tuesday, Mike Miller talked about the business side of basketball after a perfect 3-3 night against the Spurs in game 2 of the NBA Finals. “One thing I’ve learned through 13 years of basketball is the business side of it, and I completely understand it. But I’ve got a lot of basketball left. This is the best I’ve felt in five years and that might have something to do with the fact that I haven’t played (much). Sometimes, there’s light at the end of the tunnel even when you’re frustrated.”
The next step in the amnesty process is a 48 hour period where team’s under the salary cap can bid on the rights to Mike Miller. If no team signs him during that period, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The only stipulation is that he would still be prevented from signing with the Miami Heat.
Mike Miller helped the Heat win back to back NBA titles, and appear in three NBA Finals during his time with the team. Although he won’t be around to help Miami’s efforts to three-Heat as champions, Mike Miller potentially could land somewhere with more playing time available after being amnestied by the Heat.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express