Mike Miller Amnestied by Miami Heat

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2013

Mike Miller's postseason return to relevance won't save him from the NBA's amnesty period for a second straight season.


UPDATE: Thursday, July 18, at 5:11 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the latest on Miller's status:

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UPDATE: Tuesday, July 16, at 4:30 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Mike Miller offered his appreciation to the Heat organization following his release:

---End of update---


Original Text

According to Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald, on Monday night the Miami Heat informed Arn Tellem, Miller's agent, that they will use their amnesty provision on the 33-year-old forward:

The team later officially announced the move via its Twitter feed:

Heat owner Micky Arison also reached out via Twitter, thanking Miller for his time in South Beach:

The NBA's amnesty period runs from July 11 through July 17, meaning the Heat had until the close of the business day Wednesday to inform the league office of its decision.

Miller's rights will now be subject to a 48-hour waivers process, during which teams under the league's salary cap can bid for his services.

The bid price would absolve the Heat of paying that amount of his remaining salary. The Heat are currently slated to pay the two years and $12.8 million remaining on the five-year, $29 million deal they signed with Miller in the summer of 2010—ostensibly to become the vital fourth cog in Miami's Big Three project.

If no team makes a claim on Miller, he will become an unrestricted free agent. If and when Miller signs with another franchise, Miami will still be subject to paying a majority of his salary, set at an offsetting formula that is equal to half of the difference between a player's new salary—whatever Miller agrees to with another franchise—and a minimum-salaried contract, per Larry Coon.

Miller cannot return to the Heat under any circumstances—via free agency or trade—until after the 2014-15 season, when his contract was due to expire, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

While ostensibly brought in to bring spacing and three-point shooting to Miami's star-studded roster, Miller's time with the Heat was fraught with injury. He missed at least 23 games in each of his three seasons with the Heat, failing to appear in 91 games total. Miller's play suffered mightily as a result, as his role saw massive fluctuation amid new blood being injected into Miami's lineup.

Back problems hampered Miller to such a degree that he even contemplated retirement as the Heat made their first championship run in 2011-12. But as would become the case throughout both of Miami's championship triumphs, Miller's comeback story from being buried on the bench became something of a tradition.

Miller infamously knocked down seven three-pointers and scored 23 points in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012, a performance that many saw as amnesty-saving.

When Miller saw increased prominence again in Erik Spoelstra's NBA Finals rotation this year against the San Antonio Spurs due to the mighty shooting woes of Shane Battier, it seemed possible that he could do it again. He provided spacing and knocked down clutch threes on the wing, and his intricate knowledge of Miami's helter-skelter defense cannot go understated.

There will be no such luck this time around.

With the NBA's collective bargaining agreement kicking in more punitive luxury-tax penalties—especially for repeat offenders, of which Miami is one—starting this season, management made a frugal decision. As pointed out by ESPN's Brian Windhorst, waiving Miller will save the Heat $17 million in amnesty costs alone, not accounting for a potential replacement:

Miller was well liked in the Miami community and locker room, so the team did not come of this decision lightly. Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reports the team tried finding a taker via a trade, but came up empty. Reynolds also got a statement from Heat president Pat Riley, who was open about the difficulty the team faced in releasing Miller:

For his part, Miller was understanding but noted that it was hard not to be hurt by the decision, via Reynolds:

The Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors have also used their amnesty provision this summer, on Metta World Peace and Linas Kleiza, respectively (per Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears), which will leave only 12 teams with the provision remaining.

Those teams have until the 2015-16 season to exercise that option.


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