If yesterday’s amnesty of Mike Miller taught us anything, it’s that in a battle between owners and team presidents, owners always win. No matter how powerful the team president is, the owner is the one spending the money. So status is overshadowed. Even that of Pat Riley, who went out of his way to let the world know that he wanted to keep this team together. He even went as far to say that he couldn’t see the team using the amnesty clause “as of today.”
But he always let it be known that the final decision was going to be ownership’s. And they ultimately decided to save around $15 million.
“After many discussions internally and a sincere effort to explore the trade market, we made a very difficult decision to use our amnesty provision on Mike Miller,” Riley said in a statement via USA Today. “…This was a very difficult decision for me personally, the Arison family, Erik [Spoelstra] and the entire Miami Heat organization. Mike was one of the best we have ever had here, and will be sorely missed…”
Now if that statement sounds like more of a eulogy than the story of a player being cut, that’s because this one really hurt.
Miller was a player who put his body on the line to get the Heat to three consecutive NBA Finals and was a key part of them winning two in a row. But Micky Arison couldn’t pass on the chance to save luxury tax money on a player who barely limped onto the court during the season.
“I understand the business side of basketball,” Miller told The Associated Press. “It’s a combination of being very, very thankful for the opportunity that I’ve had, but it hurts that we had a chance to do something very, very special and I’d love to have been a part of it.”
I guess this situation taught us another thing: business matters and corporate plans always change. And knowing Riley, he has a master plan in the works.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.