Pat Riley’s work was not done when LeBron James said “Miami” Thursday night.
He made two more moves — one to free up cap space by trading away Michael Beasley to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The other was to sign Mike Miller, but doing that will necessitate the big three give back about $1 million a year each in their contracts.
The Beasley trade had to be first. The No. 2 overall pick from a couple years ago had never really developed in Miami and Riley had been trying for weeks to move Beasley and his $5 million salary for next year. Including being close to a four-team trade today to make it happen.
But why Minnesota wanted another power forward is a mystery. They already have Al Jefferson and Kevin Love at that spot. Oh, and they have Darko Milicic (who they just re-signed), plus Ryan Hollins and Sasha Pavlovic. Kahn has to make another trade, or the guys all have to play “rock, paper, scissors for playing time.
Back to Miami — with the cap space, the rumored deal of Mike Miller to the Heat was agreed to by all parties, according to Marc Stein at ESPN.
Salaries still need to be worked out, but the money will be about $5 million a year for five years.
What makes that interesting is that for Miller to come in then LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dayane Wade will each have to take a pay cut, down to about $15.5 million a year — about a $1 million a year drop. All three players talked about winning being their main motivation. It seems to be true.
On the court, Miller is the kind of shooter that the Heat need to spread the floor for the slashing Wade and LeBron, plus the inside game of Bosh.
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“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.
“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”
That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.
I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?
It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.