The Portland Trailblazers have threatened to sue any team that picks up free agent Darius Miles.
A clause in his contract says if he gets to ten games, he gets $9 million for the next two years from the Trailblazers. That $18 million will hurt Portland's chances of picking up free agents because the contract will eat up cap space.
Since he is two games away, Portland says they will sue any team that picks up Miles—a man trying to return from micro fracture knee surgery—claiming the team would not be a good venture partner.
Darius Miles has the right to continue to seek employment in the NBA. If anything, Miles is being prohibited from staging a comeback. Darius Miles should not be prohibited from seeking employment.
No one held a gun to Portland's General Manager and said "Give Darius this contract or your brains go on the paper." There was no Luca Brasi and Don Corleone moment in the Portland office.
If you are going to reward a player with incentives based on the amount of games played, you should have no right to sue anyone for using that strategically to their advantage. A team should be allowed to cut Portland off at the knees, and sign this guy to a ten day contract. If he can play, you keep him for free if you can, and that's one less market you have to be concerned about in the offseason.
Portland has every right to be upset.
However, their emotions are in the wrong place. They should be more upset with themselves for handing out a ridiculous contract like this. Honestly—ten games for $9 million? Anyone who hands out this kind of contract has to have their head examined.
The New York Knicks and Isiah Thomas find this contract ridiculous. The Philadelphia 76ers and Matt Geiger find this contract ridiculous. Darius Miles only has to play two seconds for $16 million dollars—only Stephon Marbury is working less than that!
Ten games for $18 million is a good gig, if you can get it.
Darius Miles should not have to go through this. He had a lot of promise until the surgery, and deserves a chase to continue to play in the league. The Trailblazers are going to have to bite the bullet on this bad contract and get used to paying Miles because the positives far outweigh the negatives to whomever picks him up.
Have fun wearing whatever uniform you get, Darius, because even if that team doesn't work out, you'll at least hurt the team that had no more faith in you.
Update: Darius Miles has re-signed with the Memphis Grizzlies.