Find a way to take money away from the team that's saving money by dumping you.
Miller was amnestied by the team after winning a second straight NBA championship in June. Now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, Miller's attorney told the Miami Herald of his client's intentions to recover $1.7 million he lost investing in an investment scam.
This scam involves a Pakistan-born man who has ties to South Florida and Ohio. The man, Haider Zafar, pleaded not guilty in July to all the charges, which stem back to a $10 million scheme involving a Washington D.C. businessman between 2008 and 2010.
Miller, who claims to have been introduced to Zafar by a former Miami Heat employee who was the team's executive vice president of sales, is said to have given Zafar $2 million to invest in a high-interest yield private investment in February. According to Barry Jackson's report in the Herald, Miller was eventually repaid $300,000 of that money. Zafar used $700,000 to purchase courtside seats to Heat games. By April, Miller concluded Zafar was a fraud.
The Heat let Miller go to save the team $17 million in luxury-tax payments.
So, yes, this ordeal has everything to do with money, and, in Miller's case, hurt feelings about being released and feeling betrayed on multiple accounts by the Heat. It appears from anyone's blind perspective, Miller is firing back at the organization that cut him loose.
No longer part of their plans for him to let it fly, Miller's counter move is to fire back at the Heat organization to take money. After all, the Heat are saving cash to dump him. His response: recoup some of the money he feels the team's connections caused him to lose.
In Miller's defense, he was introduced to the scam artist by a Miami Heat former employee, who sold him on Zafar's "legitimacy." On the other hand, Miller made the decision to invest privately with Zafar after the two became "business partners."
It sounds more like sour grapes, to tell the truth. An athlete is let go. He feels unwanted in a place he was loved and seemingly loved to play for. Now bitter about the way the Heat dumped him, he's trying to get back.
Teammates James Jones and Rashard Lewis were also duped in the scam. However, they are not pursuing lawsuits, according the Herald report. Those two are also still with the Heat.
Is Miller trying to get back at the Heat for letting him go? Is he simply trying to recover the money he lost in the scam? Why wouldn't he just sue Zafar? Either way, the Heat made money off Zafar if he purchased $700,000 in tickets.
So whose money is that?
Apparently, that's going to be up to the courts to decide.
Jim McCurdy is a freelance sports writer based in Miami. He has written for major publications around the country. Follow him on Twitter at @irishcurds.
- Miami Heat
- Mike Miller