Bad news on the thumb injury Miami Heat sharpshooter Mike Miller suffered in practice — he will be out until January, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
The injury was a fluke — Miller’s thumb just got caught in another player’s jersey and got pulled. He underwent a 45-minute procedure Friday to repair both a broken bone and torn ligaments. His hand will be in a cast for a month followed by a splint. Followed by plenty of rehab.
“It’s good to finally have a resolution about his injury, and now a course of action to make it better,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before what was scheduled to be his team’s exhibition finale, a Friday game in Tampa eventually canceled due to a slick court surface above the ice used by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lighting. “I feel bad for Mike. I know how badly he wanted to get this season started in the right way. He’s down right now, but it’s the unfortunate reality of our profession. I knew this season wasn’t going to be easy.”
This is a blow to the Heat, and another setback in efforts to build the cohesion with the team’s core. Miller is supposed to be the sharpshooter off the bench for the Heat, although during the preseason he has started several games due to Dwyane Wade’s strained hamstring. His ability to stretch the floor will be missed. He is the most consistent three-point shooter on the team and has hit 38.5 percent of his long balls this preseason, after hitting 48 percent last season.
How key is he? Miller was one of the first free agents the Heat went after once the Big Three were in place because they realized they needed a pure shooter to stretch the floor. They signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal.
With Miller out, the less consistent but capable Eddie House will step into that role.
The Heat are now looking at options for depth at the three, including bringing in unsigned veteran Jerry Stackhouse, according to Winderman. If you think that is a good thing, you haven’t seen Stackhouse play for a couple years.
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.
Now there another injury setback for him.
He should be good to go around the start of training camp at the end of September.
But he can’t afford a slow start in training camp (that set him back his rookie season). He needs to show what he can do from day one, or Portland is going to move on without him.
The Boston Celtics have 16 players with guaranteed contracts and NBA rules allow just 15 players on the roster. Which means if a trade doesn’t happen by the start of the season, someone is going to get cut but still paid for the season.
This doesn’t change that.
The Celtics signed guard John Holland last season (he played a total of one playoff minute for them), but the deal was not guaranteed for this season. From Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
This was expected. Holland, who has played on the Puerto Rican national team, will be looking for a new gig either in the D-League or overseas (it’s unlikely an NBA team offers more than a training camp invite) By the end of training camp, the Celtics also likely will cut second-round pick Ben Bentil of Providence, who had a partially guaranteed deal.
That will leave R.J. Hunter and James Young battling it out for the final roster spot in Boston.
Ty Lawson is headed to the Kings, as first reported on Monday. The team made the move official on Wednesday with a press release, and USA Today‘s Sam Amick offers up another important piece of information: Lawson’s deal is not guaranteed, making it essentially a make-good camp invite.
It’s staggering how Lawson went from a borderline All-Star level point guard in 2012-13 to signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal with a lottery team three years later. His off-the-court issues have contributed to that, and he didn’t produce last season in Houston and Indiana. Still, he should have a pretty good chance of making the Kings’ roster, with Seth Curry and Rajon Rondo gone and Darren Collison their only proven point guard. They need depth there.
When Ben Simmons declared for the NBA draft this spring, he signed with LeBron James‘ Klutch Sports group for representation. That association would appear to have its advantages for the No. 1 overall pick, including the opportunity to work out with James and Dwyane Wade during the offseason. Wade posted a group photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon:
Also, it’s pretty staggering to see Simmons standing next to James and realizing that he’s bigger and taller.