After a few days of speculating the opposite, it appears the Miami Heat is going to end up using that amnesty clause.
It came down to Mike Miller and Joel Anthony. Sadly, the recipient will be Miller, Miami’s beloved and oft-injured sharpshooter with more memorable and admirable moments than everybody on this Heat team not named Dwyane Wade, LeBron James or Ray Allen.
In the end, it was Miller’s contract. Using the amnesty on Joel would have saved a shade under $10 million, but cutting Miller’s deal off the books will save the Heat nearly $20 million when the impending luxury tax penalties hit.
He was still owed over $13 million over the next two years on the $30 million contract he signed in the same summer the ‘Big Three’ teamed up. Had he and Anthony been kept, the Heat would be paying over $30 million in tax penalties alone. Sign on another player using the mid-level exception and Miami’s paying over $50 million.
With Miller out of the picture, the Heat now have more leverage to sign on another player that could provide for more than half a season. Miller has sat out 92 games in the past three years, dealing with injuries all over his body and the DNP’s that came as a result of the injuries and being replaced in the rotation by guys like Shane Battier and Ray Allen.
Although Miller hardly matched the expectations he was given when first joining the Heat, he still gave the fanbase some of the greatest moments in the ‘Big Three’ era.
How could we forget his memorable Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder?
Or his three-pointer on one shoe during a frantic comeback in Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs?
What about his 6-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc in a return game against the Spurs in last year’s regular season?
Don’t forget about the cool 32 points he dropped in a win against the Toronto Raptors.
I could go on, but videos simply don’t do justice as to what Miller gave the Heat when he was capable of standing on his own two feet. If he rendered himself as a contributor who could provide on both sides of the ball, Miller was giving everything he had despite constantly grimaces stretching across his face after every step he took.
Injuries never allowed Miller to reach his true potential with the Heat. He was meant to be the main recipient of the interior influences of slashers like Wade and James, but never got into any sort of groove because of all of the ailments that plagued him in his three years with the Heat.
But we here in the South Florida area won’t forget what Miller provided on the nights he did play. Even though he was constantly hampering a new injury, Miller was still providing at all facets of the game; rebounding, ball-handling and doing what he did best: shooting.
Miller recently said that he could play another five years if he wanted to. It’s hard to believe that, but his determination and commitment to playing the game would lead you to see otherwise.
I feel bad for the Heat if they have to play the team that signs on Miller. Because we know he always has the potential for games like these.
If he doesn’t retire and go out on top, here’s hoping Miller can resurrect his career elsewhere. He truly deserves it.