After Miami Heat President Pat Riley said he saw no need to use the amnesty provision on forward Mike Miller, the Heat did exactly that and waived the veteran forward on Tuesday.
"After many discussions internally and a sincere effort to explore the trade market, we made a very difficult decision to use our amnesty provision on Mike Miller," Riley said in a statement. "Mike had an incredible impact on the Miami Heat; helping us to three Finals appearances and winning back-to-back world championships. This was a very difficult decision for me personally, the Arison family, Erik (Spoelstra) and the entire Miami Heat organization. Mike was one of the best we have ever had here, and will be sorely missed. We wish Mike, his wife Jennifer and their family nothing but the best."
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The Heat's decision to clear Miller's salary from salary cap figures (though Miller will still be paid the 12.8 million he is owed) came nearly three weeks after Riley said, "We don't feel like it's necessary" to amnesty Miller.
However, economics ruled the decision. Removing Miller's $6.2 million salary for 2013-14 will save the Heat more than $16 million in luxury tax payments under the new, more punitive tax rate that kicks in next season.
Miller wasn't oblivious to the amnesty possibility. After hitting 3-for-3 on three-pointers against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Miller addressed amnesty.
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"One thing I've learned through 13 years of basketball is the business side of it, and I completely understand it," Miller said. "But I've got a lot of basketball left. This is the best I've felt in five years and that might have something to do with the fact that I haven't played (much). Sometimes, there's light at the end of the tunnel even when you're frustrated."
Miller, who averaged 5.4 points and shot better than 40% on three-pointers in his three seasons with the Heat, played a pivotal role in Miami's back-to-back championships. In Game 5 of the 2012 Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miller put on a shooting show, making 7-for-8 on threes. He had 23 points in the deciding game.
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His playing time fluctuated this season, and from the end of January through March 3, he played in just one game and he barely received any minutes in the first three weeks of March. But Miller produced good games in the final three weeks of the season, including six double-digit games in seven of Miami's final 10 regular-season games. Miller didn't receive much playing time in the first three rounds of this postseason.
He played in two games against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, three games against the Chicago Bulls in the conference semifinals and totaled six minutes in the first five games of Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers. But in Game 6 against Indiana, the Heat needed Miller to stretch the floor as Indiana packed the paint to use the strength and size of Roy Hibbert and David West.
In the first three games of the Finals against the Spurs, Miller made 10-for-11 on three-pointers, and in Game 6, with the Heat trailing 3-2 in the series, Miller scored eight points and made both threes he attempted.
Heat owner Micky Arison tweeted, "Thank you Mike Miller @m33m for 3 amazing years. You'll always be part of the @MiamiHEAT family #2TimeChamp #LetItFly"