Miami Heat President Pat Riley said it three weeks ago and it became official Tuesday:
Heat forward Mike Miller will not be subjected to the NBA’s amnesty provision.
Tuesday was the deadline for teams to utilize the one-time provision, which allows them to release a player and remove his luxury-tax obligation from their payroll.
Because of his injury issues, which include ongoing back problems, there had been thought that Miller would be discarded as a means of lowering the Heat’s obligation under the NBA’s dollar-for-dollar luxury tax. Instead, Miller will remain on the Heat’s payroll for at least one more season.
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Next summer, however, could be a different story for Miller, when the luxury tax increases beyond a $ 1 payment for each $ 1 a team is over the league’s luxury-tax threshold. Miller’s contract runs through 2014-15, with the forward due $ 5.8 million this coming season and $ 6.2 million in 2013-14, with a $ 6.6 million player option in 2014-15.
Under terms of the new collective-bargaining agreement, a team can utilize an amnesty move once during the 10-year term of the new CBA, but it must be on a player who was on the team’s roster before the new CBA went into effect last December.
Bypassing an amnesty release prior to last season and now in the just-completed one-week annual window, the Heat essentially have banked their amnesty move at least until July 2013, when another one-week amnesty window will open.
Among players the Heat can utilize the amnesty provision on going forward are Miller, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, as well as the unlikely options of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Because Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Shane Battier, James Jones, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis were signed after the 2011 NBA CBA was reached, they are not eligible for the amnesty provision. Dexter Pittman’s contract expires following the coming season, so he no longer is in the amnesty equation going forward.
Should Miller require offseason back surgery, an option he is hoping to avoid, and then be deemed by the NBA to be out for 2012-13, the Heat could then apply for an injured-player exception, which would allow them to sign a player to a one-year contract for $ 2.9 million (half of Miller’s salary). Such an exception would not have been possible had Miller been waived through amnesty.
The amnesty provision has been utilized on several players this offseason, including Elton Brand (who was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers and claimed by the Dallas Mavericks), Brendan Haywood (who was waived by the Mavericks and signed by the Charlotte Bobcats), Luis Scola (who was waived by the Houston Rockets and signed by the Phoenix Suns) and Darko Milicic (who was waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves).
Because the Heat are operating above the salary cap, they are not eligible to make an amnesty claim.
At Tuesday’s amnesty deadline, Josh Childress, an amnesty cut by the Suns, cleared waivers and is now free to sign with the team of his choice. Also Tuesday, the Washington Wizards put Andray Blatche on amnesty waivers, with teams operating below the salary cap given 48 hours to make an amnesty-waivers claim on the power forward. The only remaining teams in position to make amnesty claims, due to their space below the salary cap, are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rockets, Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets, 76ers, Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors.
At the initial amnesty deadline prior to the lockout-delayed start to 2011-12, the amnesty cuts were Gilbert Arenas (by the Magic), Chauncey Billups (New York Knicks), Charlie Bell (Golden State Warriors), Baron Davis (Cleveland Cavaliers), Travis Outlaw (Nets), James Posey (Indiana Pacers) and Brandon Roy (Trail Blazers).
Among players listed as amnesty possibilities who were not so designated were Miller, Lakers forward Metta World Peace, Denver Nuggets center Chris Andersen, Kings forward John Salmons, Raptors point guard Jose Calderon and Bobcats center DeSagana Diop. While not amnestied, Utah Jazz forward Raja Bell is expected to receive a buyout.
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