On Tuesday afternoon, the Miami Heat announced the use of their amnesty clause on 33-year old sharpshooter, Mike Miller. The 6-foot-8 guard was scheduled to make $6.2 million next season with a $6.6 million player option for the following year. Regardless, the Heat are making a mistake in letting Miller go.
Miller averaged a career-low 4.8 points per game this past season, simply getting lost in the back court rotation for an organization that has now claimed back-to-back NBA championships. While Miller’s numbers have continuously decreased, he has assumed the level of being labeled as an end of the bench role player in his time with the Heat. While it would, on paper, make sense to waive someone like Miller, especially considering his was scheduled to make $6.2 million next season, the Heat have proven in the past that the “X-Factor” play is exactly what they have needed to win championships. Talent aside, every squad needs someone who can make something happen when you least expect it, especially in a grueling seven game series.
The Heat have made it clear this off-season that they’d like to keep the roster similar to this past year and for good reason — why would they want to break up any part of a squad that has claimed back-to-back titles? While the team has depth and they do feature other X-Factors on their roster, Miller is one that cannot necessarily be replaced. He’s a sharpshooter who is known simply for that dynamite ability to change the landscape of a game from the perimeter. Yes, Miami is returning Ray Allen, but he is not necessarily an X-Factor, he’s one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, it’s expected from him.
Sure, Miami doesn’t need Miller to win a championship, but there’s no denying the fact that he played a key role in their NBA Finals victory this past season. Miller was 11-of-18 from deep in that series alone and actually started 11-of-14 through the first six games.
This isn’t by any means a domino effect in terms of Miami’s potential next season, but the Heat are saying goodbye to an important rotation player that had an under-appreciated hand in helping the team raise their second consecutive championship just last month.
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