Heat Comes to Terms With Free Agent Swingman Mike Miller
The Miami Heat has taken another major step forward in its attempt to build out its championship-caliber roster, agreeing to a five-year, $29 million contract with Wizards free agent swingman Mike Miller.
Miller, 30, is one of only two NBA players (Steve Nash) who shot better than 50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc and 80% from the line while averaging at least 30 minutes of playing time this past season. He has quietly developed into one of the most versatile and efficient offensive players in the game today. Miller is a multi-faceted offense threat: he can shoot, he can drive, he can pass and he can rebound. He often plays more than one position during the course of a game, including a point-forward type role in some stretches. Miller is best suited as a complementary piece, where his overall floor game can benefit his team greatest.
Miller, perhaps the game’s ultimate floor-spacing wing player, figures to get big minutes alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and an as-yet undetermined center. If the Heat elect for a small-ball approach, Bosh could slide over to center and James to power forward, allowing Mario Chalmers onto the floor at the point. That could produce some of the greatest offensive basketball this game has ever seen.
Wade and James need little else beyond just the floor space with which to maneuver. Chalmers, Miller and Bosh could provide them just that. Simply by camping out along the perimeter, these players present their defenders with the following dilemma: should they sag into the paint and prevent Wade or James’ penetration and risk a kickout, or should they stick to their men and leave the driving player unattended?
That’s a tricky proposition made nearly impossible by the fact that James and Wade are perhaps the two best finishers at the rim in the game, and Miller and Bosh are two of the best perimeter jump shooters in the league. Chalmers, despite his regression last season, is advancing in his role as a three-point threat and could be in line for a breakout season.
Miller was reportedly seeking a multi-year contract above the mid-level exception valued at $5.8 million a year for up to five seasons. The 6’8″ ten-year veteran was being courted by several teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks, each of which stood to offer him substantially more money. Miller now becomes the fourth Heat player who has taken fewer total dollars in exchange for the prospect of winning multiple NBA titles.
The contract status of Wade, James and Bosh can now be finalized. Miller’s contract will start at $5.0 million, with 8.0% annual non-compounding raises. That would leave enough room under the $58.044 million salary cap for each member of the trifecta to sign a contract with a 2010-11 starting salary of $15,423,364, a $1,145,544 discount from the max.
After they do, Miami will have five players under contract – Wade, Miller, James, Bosh and Chalmers – and no additional room under the salary cap with which to operate.
A Miami Heat dynasty is currently in formation.