Rarely has the release of a part-time, oft-injured player led to such an outpouring of fan emotion. The reaction was mostly appreciation toward Mike Miller rather than outrage toward Micky Arison or any other Miami Heat executive.
Still, the Heat's understandable decision to waive Miller via the amnesty clause—to save roughly $16 million in luxury tax penalties next season—will undeniably leave a void in Miami.
Miller left an impression well in excess of his statistics. He scored 5.4 points in just 139 games over three seasons due to a comically long list of injuries and ailments, from his thumbs to his shoulder to his ankle to his head to his midsection (hernia) to his back.
He left that impression with his spirited style of play, his self-deprecating sense of humor and his knack for the dramatic, whether it was hitting seven three-pointers in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals or starting a comeback with a one-shoe shot in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.
One by one, Heat officials, coaches and players made public statements thanking Miller for his contributions, with no statement greater than the organization's decision to take out full-page ads in the three major South Florida newspapers.
"You get real popular when you get the boot," Miller said, laughing about all of the attention.
Miller, for his part, acknowledged that he understood the Heat's decision, even if it hurt. He knew that amnesty was a possibility even after the 2011-12 season, when he auctioned his waterfront house to rent instead for a year. But he had come to believe, as this offseason went on, that he would be sticking around.
Now, after clearing amnesty waivers, he is a free agent, free to sign anywhere but Miami.
So what did the Heat risk by letting him go?
(All quotes for this piece were collected through the course of the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post.)