In anticipation of a potential release by the Miami Heat, even with a guaranteed $24 million left on his contract, Mike Miller has put his Florida house up for sale. The strange part is that his release might be spurred on by an NBA rule that hasn't even been enacted yet, an "amnesty clause" that could become a provision of the still-undeveloped NBA collective bargaining agreement.
One of the first givens as NBA labor negotiations began last June was that the clause would find its way back toward teams' wheelhouses whenever the new CBA was agreed upon. The clause was first introduced following the 2005 CBA ratification, initially nicknamed the "Allan Houston Rule" as teams were allowed to release players from their salary cap obligations and the team itself, though it still had to pay the player in full.
Houston, an injured and overpaid New York Knick at the time (shock horror), wasn't even let go by New York (that would be Jerome Williams instead), adding to an air of silliness back when things were going swell between the NBA and its players.
This time around, the clause will likely return, a nice gift to the big-market teams that have already lost a month's worth of money-making games. And Miller, the seemingly perfect-fitting versatile Heat wing who struggled terribly in his first year with Miami last season, is likely to get the axe. Which could be part of the reason, even without the clause becoming a reality yet, he's put his Miami-area house up for sale.
So, yes, that is Miller's Hillsboro Shores estate that recently was placed on the market for $9 million. And no, the Miami Heat forward is not looking to move. Or at least is hoping there is no need.
The veteran forward said Wednesday he is just taking stock of the current situation in both his career and the NBA. And that means taking stock of his 9,968-square-foot estate with the $180,000 in annual property taxes.
"It's a couple of things," Miller said. "Just preparing myself; never know what can happen."
It's a shame, really. Because Miller's all-around skills (not only has he worked as one of the best shooters in the NBA since debuting back in 2000, but his passing and rebounding skills from the wing rank amongst the best in the league) should mix expertly with Miami's troika of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Even if you're not a fan of the way the Heat were put together, few outside of Florida are, Miller's injury-plagued and ruddy-awful (5.5 points on 40 percent shooting, missing half the season) 2010-11 was a massive disappointment. We wanted to see those four mix it up.
With Mike due to make $24 million over the next four years (his final season is a player option he's bound to pick up), he seems ripe for the amnesty clause as he continues to work his way back from various thumb and shoulder surgeries. And even though the Heat can use all the competence they can get in any position not manned by a member of the Big Three, $24 million is $24 million, especially with luxury tax penalties becoming more and more punitive in the new CBA.
I'd tell you not to feel bad for Miller, considering he'll make all the money he was owed, plus whatever cash his next team pays him, plus whatever he can sell his mansion for. But he'll also, more than likely, have to leave his best chance at a championship after one unrepresentative and injury-plagued season. Whatever the compensation, whatever the clause, that's a tough one to take.
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