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Ball Don't Lie

News and notes: Rashard Lewis staying, Mike Miller going?

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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The NBA's new collective bargaining agreement hasn't been signed off on, yet, and the NBA Players Association hasn't even officially reformed. Training camps and free-agent signings are still technically not due to hit until Dec. 9, though there was a slow and steady trickle of NBA players seen walking into the team practice facilities that they were literally locked out of exactly five months ago.

We're also getting trickly bits of news, too, starting with a revelation that could end Mike Miller's career in Miami before it really had a chance to blossom.

Miller was signed by the Heat in 2010 to act as a needed all-around tonic to fill in whatever the role of the night called for. And though Miller literally rebounded exceptionally well in Miami last season, his shooting and passing touch never caught on due to a series of ailments, most notably with his thumbs. As such, his name has been bandied about as a possible amnesty candidate for the Heat to waive, saving the team $24 million over the next four seasons.

And, as ESPN's Tom Haberstroh is reporting, Miller could be out for over a month after hernia surgery. Well, Udonis Haslem (Miller's closest friend on the Heat) gave Haberstroh the eight-week designation. Miller's father (who, I'm assuming, is also a good friend of Miller's) told Fox's Chris Tomasson that he'll be gone for just a month. Either way, this doesn't look good for Mike.

One cat that likely won't be cut loose is Washington Wizards forward Rashard Lewis, according to the Washington Post's Michael Lee. Lewis boasts one of the league's most onerous contracts, he's due to make just under $43 million over the next two years (with a minimum of $10 million guaranteed in 2012-13), but there's really no point in jettisoning him now when the Wizards would have to just re-spend the money owed to Lewis just to meet minimum salary floor requirements.

I'll let Kurt Helin from Pro Basketball Talk take it from here:

You amnesty a guy for two reasons. One, to avoid paying the luxury tax, but the Wizards have $47 million locked up according to the Post (or just $40 million according to Sham Sports). They need to add salary on to make the new league minimum.

The other reason is to free up cap space to go after a free agent. Is it worth it to go offer a max or near max deal to Nene? To get in the running for David West? Those are your biggest unrestricted free agents out there. You could try to overpay for Thaddeus Young and steal him away from Philly, but is that a wise use of the money?

As Helin reminds us, teams can use the amnesty provision next year, so if you were hoping to add Rashard Lewis to your favorite team (and with his goatee, why wouldn't you be?) this can still be arranged with just a word in Churchill's ear next summer.

Also, Chris Paul wants to be a Knick. Minor news.

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