Some can easily understand why the Miami Heat waived veteran guard Mike Miller. Look at it from owner Mickey Arison‘s view: release Miller under the NBA‘s amnesty provision and save nearly $17 million in luxury tax. Heck, $17 million is a big chunk of change and Miller has battled numerous injuries over his three seasons with the Heat. So, it is understandable why Miller was let go, but I am not easily convinced.
Arison and Miami still own Miller $12.8 million over the next two seasons as part of the contract he signed in 2010. On top of letting Miller go and still owing him a sizable piece of dough, GM Pat Riley signed the brittle Greg Oden and underachieving Michael Beasley. Besides $17 million, what did Miami and Arison gain from waiving Miller? I’d say a whole lot of nothing.
The defending champs would have been much better keeping Miller. Although he has been plagued with back problems and other injuries, he has been a vital piece in earning back-to-back rings. He provided a great spark off the bench against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 Finals, and dropped a cool 23 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder to clinch the 2012 title.
Miller’s sharp shooting and rebounding abilities were a crucial contribution during the playoffs the last two seasons. He always seemed to come up big whenever the team needed it, and I even considered him to be Miami’s “X-factor.”
It seems that the release of Miller was all about financial gain. Arison did not want to part ways with $17 million, but had no problem letting go of a savvy veteran. Will it be worth the headache of a trouble maker in Beasley or watching a 7-foot giant huddled on the bench in street cloths?
It may have seemed like the right move, but come playoff time when the “Big 3” are looking for a spark, who will Erik Spoelstra turn to? It sure won’t be Oden, Joel Anthony or Rashard Lewis. Spoelstra will be standing around with his hands on his hips, while Riley looks at Arison and says, “I told you so.”