Miami Heat Index: Patrick Beverley

Why Heat are likely to part with Mike Miller

November, 28, 2011
11/28/11
1:48
PM ET
Windhorst By Brian Windhorst
ESPN.com
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Mike Miller
Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images
Cutting Mike Miller won't be an easy pill to swallow, but here's why the Heat may have little choice.

For the last three days NBA executives have been digesting the new collective bargaining agreement line-by-line and crunching numbers. During that process it’s likely that the Heat have come to the conclusion that they’re still probably going to have to use the amnesty clause on Mike Miller and release him.

For months the Heat had believed this was inevitable knowing they badly needed to use their mid-level exception to help out some holes on the roster. This information made it to Miller’s ears, he put his house on the market. This was with the understanding that teams paying the luxury tax, which the Heat will, wouldn’t be permitted to use an entire mid-level exception of $5 million.

Then in the 11th hour of talks the owners agreed to give teams a $4 million “apron” to go into the tax and still use the full mid-level. This gave the Heat a chance to keep Miller, which by all accounts is what they would prefer. But once the literature got to the teams it became known that this “apron” clause has some pretty significant strings attached. Those strings probably will force the Heat’s hand.

The most important item is that any team that uses its $5 million mid-level exception and goes over the luxury tax line cannot exceed the $4 million apron for the entire season. In layman’s terms, it means that if the Heat use the mid-level exception they cannot spend over $74.3 million this season. In effect, this is a hard salary cap even though neither the union or the league sold it that way. Simply, the Heat need to add some free agents and they can’t keep themselves under that threshold with Miller’s $5.4 million on their books.

Once the Heat sign rookie point guard Norris Cole, their payroll will be about $67 million. This includes $2.7 million the Heat have to pay to satisfy old deals for players no longer on the roster. They owe James Jones $1.65 million as part of a buyout from last year plus money they guaranteed Patrick Beverley and Da’sean Butler, rookies they signed and then cut in training camp last year.

That gives them a roughly $7 million window to spend on the rest of the team if they use their mid-level exception. They probably just can’t get there.

They will go after top free agent centers like Nene as is Pat Riley’s custom, and perhaps offer Miller and Udonis Haslem in a sign-and-trade with the Nuggets, who have Nene’s rights. They offered this deal, in fact, to the Nuggets last year. But unless Nene is willing to take a massive pay cut to play for the Heat, this is a pipe dream. More likely, the Heat will attempt to use that $5 million to land center Sam Dalembert, who is interested in coming to Miami.

That would leave just $2 million to fill out the other five roster spots including Mario Chalmers, who is a restricted free agent the Heat are likely going to re-sign. Just looking at the math, Miller doesn’t fit in.

The Heat would be permitted to exceed $74.3 million if they used the new, smaller “taxpayer’s mid-level” of $3 million. And trust that Riley will attempt to sell that to Dalembert. Quite obviously, he’s made similar sales to free agents before. But even at $5 million, Dalembert would be playing for below his market value. Riley will probably exhaust all his options, but if the Heat want a starter-quality center it is probably going to cost that entire $5 million or very close to it.

If the Heat waive Miller, it would open up the extra $5.4 million to use to sign some more veterans to minimum deals. In addition, it would allow the team to use the so-called bi-annual exception of $1.9 million.

There are numerous veteran free agents who would come into play for the Heat at this price and at the veteran minimum of $1.4 million. Players like Grant Hill, Michael Redd, Tracy McGrady, James Jones and perhaps Vince Carter to name a few. All of them play Miller’s position, which makes the decision even easier. If the Heat waive Miller, they can afford to sign a badly-needed center with the mid-level and have the space left over to sign two replacements plus take a flier on center Eddy Curry to see if he can still contribute.

Injuries derailed Miller last season, leading to his worst shooting and scoring year of his career. But there was a reason the Heat gave him a five-year, $34 million deal last year and it is not appealing to pay him the last four years and $29 million of it to not play for them --- and potentially play against them in the playoffs. If Miller is indeed waived, in fact, look for the Chicago Bulls to be one of the most aggressive teams in trying to sign him.

If the surgeries Miller had in the offseason to his thumb and shoulder help him retain his 2009-10 form, when he shot a sizzling 48 percent from 3-point range, then the Heat would be crazy to let him go. But under the rules, the Heat have to make the decision on whether to amnesty Miller by Dec. 25, the start of the season. It may not be enough time.

It’s not a great basketball or financial decision to release Miller. But with no true center on the roster at the money and cap space needed to address the point guard situation as well, the new rules and old deals appear to have backed the Heat into a corner on this. The Heat are out to win the championship now and getting into that mode often forces tough decisions like this one Riley may have to make.

Monday Hotness

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
10:48
AM ET
Arnovitz By Kevin Arnovitz
ESPN.com
Archive
  • A player's contributions to team chemistry are unquantifiable. That's why on broadcasts and in player profiles, we often refer to qualities like unselfishness and the capacity to better team morale as intangibles. If there were such a measurement in real life, chances are Udonis Haslem would lead the Heat in that category. That's one reason why Wade made personal appeals to LeBron James and Chris Bosh to give up some of their salaries so that the Heat could retain Haslem, according to Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald: "Wade called Bosh and asked him to cut $15 million off his salary for Haslem. Wade called James and asked him to do the same. Bosh and James barely knew Haslem. Just a few short conversations here and there. But Wade told them this team needed someone hungry and gritty and unselfish like Haslem, and promised to cut $17 million out of his own contract to make it happen, too."
  • A catalog of reasons why the Heat won't win the title. This isn't the first time -- and won't be the last -- that the Lakers teams from 1968-69 through 1970-71 stocked with Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West have been referenced as historical precedence.
  • The Heat's frotcourt has inspired some skepticism. Bethlehem Shoals of The Works suggests that Miami's most glaring deficiency up front isn't post defense, but rebounding.
  • Arturo Galletti of Arturo's Silly Little Stats calculates his anticipated win total for the Heat and pays special attention to how Mike Miller's injury impacts that projection. The answer: More than you think.
  • Sam Smith of Bulls.com chooses James as his preseason MVP: "LeBron is going to look at every defender as the guy who Twittered him insulting comments."
  • Dwyane Wade, awkward teenager at the school dance.
  • Hooptropolis, a native Ohioan, on the assembly of talent in Boston in 2007 vs. this season's Heat squad: "People didn't hate on the original Big 3 in Boston as much as they're hating on the new Big 3 in Miami because they see the original Big 3 in Boston as being more engineered by office executives (so the players aren't to blame), while the new Big 3 in Miami has been engineered by the players."
  • Who's the best bet for the Heat's final roster spot? The finalists each offer a different rationale. Jamaal Magloire is the credentialed veteran who has been around since the merger. Patrick Beverley is the Cinderella candidate. He's bounced around Europe for a couple of seasons and was a gritty performer in summer league and the preseason. Da'Sean Butler, the Heat's second-round draft pick, has the most growth potential once he recovers from injury.
  • Video of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade addressing the media after Sunday's practice, courtesy of Hot Hot Hoops.
  • Mike Fratello would prefer that you not heave objects at players from the upper deck, no matter how upset you are about the cancellation of a game. Brian Schmitz writes that the Heat and Magic could've mollified disappointed fans by venturing into the crowd to snap a few photos and sign some autographs for ticket-holders.

Friday Hotness

October, 15, 2010
10/15/10
2:13
PM ET
Arnovitz By Kevin Arnovitz
ESPN.com
Archive
  • Dwyane Wade would like a peek at LeBron James' birth certificate. Not the first time.
  • Surya Fernandez of Hot Hot Hoops sits down with Dexter Pittman, who has been getting plenty of reading material and life tutorials from Alonzo Mourning.
  • Like all NBA head coaches, Erik Spoelstra will have 240 minutes of playing time to distribute over the course of a regulation game. As the Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman points out in his mailbag, once you get past LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat still have some choices to make about how integral guys like James Jones, Eddie House, Dexter Pittman, Mario Chalmers, Jamaal Magloire will be moving forward.
  • Something worth remembering as we size up the Heat's defensive potential this season: Only Charlotte and Orlando were more efficient than the Heat last season defensively.
  • In an effort to examine how Michael Jordan would fare against present-day defenses, Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak watches some film of the Celtics' defensive performance against James last May: "Notice that, when possible, the C’s send a player at LeBron on the catch, even when he’s out on the perimeter. Over the course of the playoff series, they were very effective with this quasi-double team. The main effect was to amplify a flaw in James’s game that Jordan cut out early in his career: waiting on the catch."
  • Netscape's Marc Andreessen, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and LeBron James make Fortune Magazine's "40 under 40" top young business leaders: "How many people can stop the pulse of a country? James's primetime signing with Miami this summer was slammed as a publicity stunt, but his brand emerged unscathed. It was the latest marketing bonanza seeded by his own company, LRMR, which James and high school friends have built over four years. LRMR has brokered James's deals with McDonald's and State Farm."
  • Patrick Beverley: Heady and resourceful.
  • The Miami Herald and the National Public Radio affiliate in Miami announce the LeBron James Poetry Contest.
  • The Onion, in full onion-ness, has the scoop of the day: "After much deliberation, members of the MiamiHeat.com web team decided today that the featured homepage image should depict Miami Heat small forward LeBron James playing basketball. According to sources, the choice to go with a photograph of James was made in an early morning staff meeting. Several different image ideas were suggested, including LeBron James shooting a basketball, LeBron James passing a basketball, and LeBron James playing defense in a basketball game."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Chris Bosh
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.4 1.0 35.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Bosh 8.8
AssistsD. Wade 6.4
StealsM. Chalmers 1.7
BlocksC. Bosh 0.7