Don't expect the Miami Heat to be using the one-time amnesty provision that could help shed some of the hefty luxury-tax payment for the upcoming NBA season.
Unless Heat owner Micky Arison has been keeping secrets from Heat president Pat Riley or simply hasn't made up his mind yet, the coaching legend and architect of the Heat's three championships believes the team has no plans to use it on likely suspects Mike Miller or Joel Anthony.
"I want to try to keep this team intact as long as we can, because we have a championship basketball team here," Riley said during a conference call to reporters Friday from his office at the AmericanAirlines Arena. "I would hate to break any part of it up that is productive and leads to winning."
With the team consisting of 14 returning players, not including Juwan Howard, the bill could be as much as $30 million. Arison, as Riley pointed out, "has proven to step up to the plate (in the past)."
The Heat could save almost $10 million by using the clause on Anthony's $3.6 salary this upcoming season, with the savings even bigger at a staggering $17 million for Miller's $6.3 million paycheck for the 2013-14 NBA season. Because the Heat are repeat offenders going over the salary cap, the tax for each dollar over the limit gets larger with each season.
"Right now, we're not using amnesty," said Riley, but then added "as of today."
Maybe not today but the team still has until Tuesday to change their mind.
Even with such a hefty tax bill that's facing them, the team is still dangling their "mini-midlevel" exception to free agents (a few have passed and chosen to sign elsewhere for more money) and they believe they can eventually convince one of them to take it to join the best team in the NBA. After all, this very exception worked out well for Shane Battier and Ray Allen. But this time, the team is looking for someone younger who will be around for the next phase of rebuilding the roster when Battier and Allen retire.
"We're going to save it and use it if the right player pops up," Riley said. "I'm not talking rookies or draft picks. Twenty-five or 26-year-old players who can play under them...a taproot that will take (us) into the future."
"What one other team does, I think it doesn't have any bearing on what we're thinking about.
"We're a three-time finalist. We won back-to-back championships. We've got our entire core back, signed, opted-in, and we're tickled to death with that."
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