The Miami Heat have a payroll issue. The team has almost no financial flexible this season or next season, leaving them with little options of moves to make. They will have a payroll of close to $87.3 million next season, making them the second or third highest payroll in the league. Under the next luxury tax rule, the Heat will owe around $33 million in tax money. As a result, they are looking to trim the roster a bit and will likely use the amnesty clause to do so.
The Miami Herald reports that either Mike Miller or Joel Anthony could be at risk of getting released via the amnesty clause. The Heat can use the provision anytime between Thursday and July 17 and decrease the roster by one. If Miami uses the clause on Miller, they save at least $17 million. If they were to use it on Anthony, they would save around $10 million.
Miller is owed $6.2 million in the coming season. Heat president Pat Riley has already hinted at using the provision on Miller because of how much money the team could save. The big man played in 59 games last season and averaged just 4.2 points per game. However, he was a key role player for the team especially during the playoff run. In the NBA Finals, he played all seven games for at 15 minutes. The Heat could place newly signed James Ennis in the role of Miller for three-point shooting if he comes along well in the offseason.
Anthony is the other option. While Riley has talked to Miller, he has not spoken yet to Anthony about the move. Anthony well make $3.8 million this season. His shot blocking and defense were well-used in the regular season, but Chris Andersen took over that role in the playoffs. Miami has opted to re-sign Andersen on a one-year contract. He played in 34 games, averaged 4.9 points and 4.1 rebounds. He shot 80.7 percent in the postseason. It is that kind of production that makes Anthony expendable.
Miami is still in search of a big man that be a large presence on the front line and match up well against teams like the Indiana Pacers. They have targets Greg Oden as a potential free agent that would come cheap and sign a minimum contract. The Heat have been sitting on the amnesty clause for years, having yet to use it. With the free agency frenzy of next summer, this year will be different.