Miami Heat Completes Mike Miller Signing
The Miami Heat has taken another major step forward in its attempt to build out its championship-caliber roster, by securing the services of Washington Wizards free agent swingman Mike Miller.
Miller is considered a vital part of Miami’s offseason plan, which started with the re-signing of Dwyane Wade and the additions of LeBron James — Miller’s close friend — and Chris Bosh. James said he wanted Miller to play with him, even talking the former University of Florida Gator into passing up higher-paying deals for a chance to sign with Miami.
Miller had been heavily pursued, reportedly receiving a five-year, $50 million contract offer from the New York Knicks, as well as interest from the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers. But Miller’s future has hinged on LeBron’s, and he graciously took what appears to be a $20 million discount to make it happen.
James, Wade and Bosh did the rest, reducing their starting salaries by $3.5 million to accommodate Miller’s contract, which will start at exactly $5 million. They split the discount evenly, with each player reducing his starting salary by around $1.2 million, which equates to a $9 million sacrifice per player over the course of their six year deals.
On the request of Wade, the three then further reduced their starting salaries by another $3.0 million to accommodate the five-year and $20 million contract of Miller’s good friend, and fellow Gator, Udonis Haslem. Wade reduced his starting salary a further $1.2 million ($9 million over six years) to accommodate Haslem, while James and Bosh reduced their salaries a further $900K ($7 million over six years).
“We took that stand first of all to say, ‘You know what Riley. We know you have a job to continue to build this team. So here you go. We’re going to take less money to do that,’ ” Wade said. “So we left money on the table for that to happen, and we got the guys that we wanted. We got the Mike Millers of the world, the Udonis Haslems of the world… And we’re still building.”
The plan is to surround Wade and James, the NBA’s most accomplished rim-attackers, with deadly perimeter shooting.
Miller, 30, is one of only two NBA players (Steve Nash) who shot better than 50% from the field, 40% from beyond the three-point line and 80% from the free throw line, while averaging at least 30 minutes of playing time, this past season. He made 48% of his 3-pointers last season for Washington, second-best in the NBA behind Kyle Korver.
Miller has quietly developed into one of the most versatile and efficient offensive players in the game today: 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, perhaps the game’s ultimate floor-spacing wing player, figures to get big minutes alongside Wade, James and Bosh. At this point, Miller appears to be a logical sixth man candidate, but if the Heat elect for a small-ball approach, more exciting alternatives could avail themselves, whereby Bosh slides over to center, James to power forward, with Miller at his natural small forward position, Wade at his natural shooting guard position and a yet to be determined point guard. That could produce some of the greatest offensive basketball this game has ever seen.