To his surprise, Mike Miller saw his chances of garnering a third consecutive championship ring dissipate as he was amnestied by the Miami Heat yesterday.
While Heat President Pat Riley had reiterated in weeks prior that he had no intentions of amnestying Miller, but luxury tax implications forced Miami’s hand. In wiping away Miller’s two-year, $12.8 million contract from their cap sheet, Miami saved themselves around $17 million in luxury tax. With Miami still having to pay Miller the remaining balance on his contract, there remains a possibility that Miller would be willing to accept the veteran’s minimum from, presumably, a playoff contending team.
With the Washington Wizards not particularly flush with cap-space and anxious to end their draft lottery run, signing Miller under these terms would be a smart move for Wizards’ head honcho Ernie Grunfeld. Although Miller was part of Washington’s last failed playoff run, he along with guard Randy Foye was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to Washington for, namely, the No.5 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft which became Ricky Rubio. His addition would go a long way in turning Washington into a serious contender for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference next season.
For all the talk about how well Washington played once John Wall returned, particularly on defense, the Wizards are still lacking in terms of outside shooting.
While Bradley Beal and Martell Webster have been labeled as marksman ever since their varsity days, their picturesque jump-shots have been more streaky than pure thus far in their brief NBA careers, with both being career 38 percent shooters from behind the arc. That’s not bad, but with their games not as three-point dependent as guys like Kyle Korver and J.J. Redick, their career marks don’t place them among the elite shooters in the league.
With Trevor Ariza a non-shooter and rookies Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. unproven, there is a place for a 3-point specialist like Miller, a career 40 percent shooter, within Washington’s conglomerate of wing players.
Yes, he’s a defensive liability and injury prone; he averaged only 46 games in three seasons with Miami. Still, even with a bad back, even with one shoe on, Miller can flat-out shoot and make defenses pay when they inevitably collapse on John Wall‘s drives to the basket.
One dimensional or not, shooters are and always will be a valuable commodity. After seeing how much fellow marksman Redick and Korver got in free agency — four-year contracts worth $27 million for Redick and $24 million for Korver — Miller is more than worth the risk, and more than worthy of a second go-round in the nation’s capital.