One of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ newest arrivals, veteran guard Mike Miller, offered some insight to the Cleveland Plain Dealer into how the Miami Heat, using their amnesty provision on him in July 2013, may have lit the fuse for LeBron James eventually leaving the Heat one year later.
The provision is a fancy way of saying that Miami released Miller, with the $17 million the team reportedly saved in luxury taxes serving as the basis for the move. The 6-8 veteran had been with the Heat since James’ arrival, and according to Miller, the transaction clearly angered James.
“LeBron thought it was an unnecessary change,” Miller said to the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “I’m not saying I would have been a difference-maker. San Antonio was unbelievable last year and there are a lot of things that go into a season, but it was difficult for LeBron.
“It was difficult for all of us. It was difficult for me. I had to uproot my family and move again. It was tough. I think he was disappointed because he understands legacies and he understands what he wants to do in life. That’s what makes him special.”
In the end, the move may have been costly to Miami’s hopes of winning its third consecutive NBA title. Fellow guard Dwyane Wade’s health was an issue for much of last season, and the lack of depth in that department was exposed in the Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Miller also added that once James announced on July 11 that he was coming back to play for the Cavaliers, the first call he made was to him and that the brotherhood between them felt like it was being torn apart.
“It was a tough pill to swallow for both of us,” Miller said. “That team went through a lot. The same thing this team is hoping to go through. You’re going to have ups and downs and you grow close. For me, I had a great relationship with LeBron and still have. It was extremely difficult.
“But it also meant a lot to me to see how much they cared, specifically LeBron and those guys, that I meant so much to them. Because at the end of the day, all you have are your teammates.”
One irony in the Cavaliers signing of Miller for this year is that, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the Heat will be paying him more than Cleveland. Due to a 2010 contract provision, Miller will receive $6.6 million from Miami, while the Cavaliers’ contract calls for him to receive $2.7 million.
Miller and fellow veteran James Jones, another former Heat teammate of James, both signed free agent deals with Cleveland soon after James inked his contract.
On Wednesday night, the Cavaliers will hold an intrasquad scrimmage that will be streamed on the team’s website. with the event set to get underway at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.