It may not exactly have been a surprise to anyone due to the fact that Mike Miller was a candidate for the NBA's one-time-only amnesty cut a season ago, but it was still a rather shocking end to the fan favorite that played such a crucial role in both championships of the Big 3 era. Mike Miller becomes the first Heat player of significant importance to have joined and then left the team since LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to unite with Dwyane Wade in Miami to form a supergroup that has since lost only one playoff series in three years.
Letting go of Miller saves owner Micky Arison a pretty penny with an estimated $30 million to $40 million through the next two seasons of the swingman's remaining contract (adjusted for final Heat salary cap projections). It was ultimately too much of a financial burden to pay for the frequently injured Miller who played sparingly in the regular season with Ray Allen joining the team (despite what Pat Riley said earlier).
Arison immediately went on Twitter as soon as the news broke:
Dwyane Wade soon chimed in with his own thoughts to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:
I love Mike. We all love Mike. It's tough to lose one of our brothers. But I think we all understand it's not personal. It's a business decision.
Miller himself also commented on the news to Reynolds, expressing disappointment over the decision at this stage in his career but fond of his time here in Miami:
I understand the business side of basketball. It's a combination of being very, very thankful for the opportunity that I've had, but it hurts that we had a chance to do something very, very special and I'd love to have been a part of it.
I know I can be very, very productive for a couple years for sure. But at the same time, it would be very difficult to go into a situation where you're not competing for a title. So I'm going to have to weigh those things, and we'll see how it plays out.
I've had a pretty good career and I've been a part of a lot of special things. I've won some individual awards and now two rings, so I'm going to have some pretty good memories.
I said this when I first got back here: My career started in the state of Florida with unbelievable teammates, one of them being Udonis. And then ending back up in Florida with UD, that was a special thing. We had a chance to win a national championship, came up short, then at the end got back as teammates in the NBA and won two championships together. That's special.
Haslem's reaction was said to be one of great disappointment:
Miller was extremely well-liked in the locker room. I've been told that Haslem didn't take the news especially well.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 16, 2013
Chris Bosh was reached by phone while on an NBA promotional tour in India by Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel and the All-Star forward also expressed disappointment with Miller being let go.
Just what he brought to the team on and off the court, it's going to be extremely tough to replace. We can't find a replica of Mike Miller. All we can do is just hope to make up the ground that we've lost. Our challenge has started already, pretty much, because we've lost a significant part of our team.
I think everybody knows what a big-time player he is and what he did not only in both Finals but in the playoffs and the regular season. His sportsmanship and his clutch shooting - he's one of the best shooters in the world. He bailed us out of a lot of situations. He made a lot of big shots. It's going to be tough without him.
I wish it wasn't this way. But the business of the NBA is tough sometimes.
He was a great locker-room guy. I wish he was coming back next year. I know a lot of teams are really going to be eager to sign him for him next year. I wish it wasn't this way, but there's not much we can do about it now. I wish him and his family the best.
Finally, Wade went on Twitter and gave his goodbye to the two-time champ with a picture of his now-ex teammate:
More from Hot Hot Hoops:
- Miami Heat officially amnesty Mike Miller (UPDATE)
- NBA Free Agency: Heat still favorites to sign Greg Oden, but other teams scheduling meetings
- Miami Heat Player Countdown: #154-150
- Pat Riley: "Right now, we’re not using amnesty", seeks to use mini mid-level exception
- LeBron James and The Decision: Part Deux