Still relishing in their accomplishments of winning a second consecutive NBA title, it would appear that the Miami Heat will attempt a third consecutive run for the title without veteran forward Mike Miller, who is expected to waived from the roster via the amnesty provision ahead of Tuesday's deadline.
Once removed the Heat will save nearly $17 million in luxury taxes this season and will reduce their expected tax bill, which was projected to be $33 million. The decision to waive Miller comes somewhat as a surprise after team president Pat Riley said several times since the end of the Finals that he didn't want to use the amnesty on Miller and wanted to bring him back for another championship run.
"I want to try to keep this team intact as long as we can because we have a championship basketball team here," Riley said. "I would hate to break any part of it up, that is productive and leads to winning."
Riley said the decision ultimately came down to principal owner Micky Arison and his son, team CEO and part owner Nick Arison.
Miller, who has been a playoff hero for the Heat in their two championship runs, was plagued with numerous injuries. Since joining the Heat he underwent four surgeries to his thumbs, shoulder and to repair a sports hernia.
However, the 2012-13 season was by far the healthiest he has been, and he played in 59 games but averaged career lows in points (4.8) and minutes (15.3). He played in all seven games in the Finals, starting the last four, and averaged 5.3 points and shot a remarkable 61 percent on 3-pointers.
With Miller son to be gone, the Heat are expected to continue their pursuit of free agent center Greg Oden.
Oden was the top overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft out of Ohio State and has battled numerous knee injuries and hasn't played in the NBA since Dec. 5, 2009. He is coming off his third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012.
Oden has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 82 career games and has been working out in both Columbus and Indianapolis this past offseason.
Riley recently told local reporters that he's already extended an exchange with Oden.