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Mike Miller still likely gone in Miami, amnesty casualty

Nov 28, 2011, 3:05 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Four Getty Images

In an ideal world, the Miami Heat would like to keep Mike Miller around, because if he does bounce back from last season’s injuries and this summer’s surgeries, he is a perfect fit. He can stretch the floor with his shot, is a solid team defender and can rebound.

But alas, the math of the new NBA collective bargaining agreement likely sends him packing as one of the early amnesty casualties.

Miller has four years, $23.6 million left on his deal and that likely will be too rich for the Heat’s blood, reports Brian Windhorst at ESPN. The reason is the Heat need to free up some salary room because they want to use their mid-level exception to bring in a defensive center.

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 nor 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… 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.

It shakes out like this — the Heat need a big man in the middle and the likely target is Samuel Dalembert (Nene and Tyson Chandler are too expensive). If they keep Miller they can only offer the tax-payers mid-level of $3 million, but without Miller they can offer the full mid-level at $5 million. Already that is below what Dalembert will get offered somewhere else (almost certainly) but he might take it for the chance to get a ring. Pat Riley is good at selling those kinds of things. Nobody is selling Dalembert on $3 million.

(And for the record, Dalembert is a huge upgrade over Joel Anthony. Better rebounder, much better on offense, defends the rim just about as well.)

But it’s going to take the full MLE — and no Miller — to make that happen. So even though the Heat can keep him around….

  1. edmazeing1 - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    (Kurt) you keep mentioning Mike Miller, keep me up to date on Spurs & Richard Jefferson!!!

  2. Filipe Furtado - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Kurt a better way of put it is that if Miami really wants to bring Dalembert they have to make a choice between Miller or Mario Chalmers. They can use MLE on Dalembert and keep Miller as long as they forsake Chalmers bird rights. It’s same situation Boston is in either resign Davis/Green or bring an MLE guy.

    • thejotapee - Nov 28, 2011 at 6:41 PM

      I’m sorry that your teams just not that interesting. Would you like a tissue?

  3. suhnum1fan - Nov 28, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    How about changing the site’s name to Are you in love with them gosh lol

  4. uhemi - Nov 28, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Go Heat !!!!

  5. ddrew80 - Nov 28, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    The Heat should sign Eddy Curry on the cheap. I think he would be focused playin wit Bron n Wade if that don’t motivate him he shouldn’t be in the league.

    • thestudiokida - Nov 29, 2011 at 4:03 AM

      Is that a joke? I can’t believe you need further proof that Eddy Curry doesn’t belong in the league.

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