Mike Miller defines expendable.
The 6’8” sniper is one of the most productive Miami Heat players outside of the Big Three. But because of his shaky shot, he’s South Beach’s No. 1 candidate to get bounced by the amnesty clause.
After signing Miller two summers ago, Pat Riley issued this ecstatic statement (via ESPN):
From the first moment that we met Mike on July 1, it seemed like it would be a match made in heaven. We consider him to be the finest perimeter shooter in the NBA. He is a multifaceted player who can rebound, handle the ball and make plays. We expect big things from him.
Talk about failing to live up to expectations.
In the 2010-11 regular season, Miller only averaged 5.6 points per game. Despite his poor production, his numbers found a way to plummet even further in the postseason to 2.6 per.
Miller actually improved his numbers this year, but not nearly enough to boost his job security. The 32-year-old shot an impressive 45.1 percent from downtown, compared to a pitiful 36.4 previously. But his 6.1 scoring average is nothing to write home about.
According to hoopshype, Miller will make $5.8 million next season and $6.2 the following year. He also possesses a player option to extend his contract all the way into the 2015 campaign for $6.6 million. Miller is basically making $1 million per point he scores a game—Micky Arison is capable of getting far more bang for his buck.
One name that consistently shows up on fans’ Christmas-in-July wish lists is Steve Nash. According to ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh, Nash admitted on The Dan Patrick Show that if LeBron James went John Calipari on him this summer that:
I would listen. He's phenomenal. I love what they're doing there. A lot of people don't like them because they put all that talent there. But they're professional, they play hard, they play together. Their coaching staff has done a great job, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. I would definitely listen.
But do the Heat really need another player that must control the basketball? If they’re truly desperate for a point guard upgrade, Chauncey Billups is a veteran-minimum possibility.
In reality, though, the duo of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole has failed to disappoint. And with Cole sure to progress in his second season, Miami’s greater need is for a scorer off the bench. A sharp-shooter capable of taking a fraction of the scoring load off of the Big Three would do wonders.
Riley meant Miller to be that man. He definitely isn’t, but one of the many soon-to-be former Dallas Mavericks would be—Jason Terry.
FOX Sports’ Chris Tomasson reported that when Terry was questioned about his interest in joining the Heat as a free agent this summer, he responded:
Miami is definitely a title contender. For sure. (Team President) Pat Riley is a great guy and what he's done with the organization is tremendous. No question, they need a veteran shooter, a guy who can score besides LeBron (James) and (Dwyane Wade), and they know they can count on. I'm a guy that's been in this league 13 years, (averaging) 15 points a night, easy. Off the bench or the starting lineup, it doesn't matter. So I think I'd be an asset to them.
Year in and year out, Terry is one of the league’s top sixth men. Miami knows that as well as anyone...
Sure, he’ll be 35 years old next season, but he’s still instant offense off the bench. Terry continues to average over 15 points a game in less than 32 minutes of action.
As an offensive spark, Miller pales in comparison to Terry. And just as the Jet's superiority is a no-brainer, cutting ties with Miller using the amnesty clause is just as easy of a decision.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.