This was expected; it’s just taken a while to get there.
Mike Miller was not going to be part of the rotation in Cleveland — as banged up as they were in the NBA Finals Miller only got on the court for 28 minutes. He was traded to Portland in a salary dump (approved by LeBron James) but the rebuilding Blazers were not expected to keep the 35-year-old sharpshooter. Sunday, Portland and Miller agreed to a buyout, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Mike Miller has finalized a contract buyout to enter free agency, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Once Miller clears waivers, the Denver Nuggets are among the teams with an interest in signing Miller, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Denver pursued Miller aggressively in free agency a year ago, before Miller signed a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Denver has 14 guaranteed contracts as it begins training camp this week..
Miller was owed $2.3 million this season and recently exercised that option. We do not yet know how much the buyout was for, but I doubt he took a steep discount.
Denver would be an interesting landing spot, this is a team that chased him in 2014, but Miller chose to follow LeBron and go after another ring. Denver is a team transitioning to having Emmanuel Mudiay run the point, and with some interesting pieces (Danilo Gallinari) and some guys they would love to trade (Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler) as they transition the roster. Wouldn’t Denver rather use that last roster spot on a young player that could be with them into the future?
Other, earlier rumblings included Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Dallas. Miller has played seven seasons — 453 games total — in Memphis, so there is a comfort level. Plus that team needs shooting, and he is a career 40.7 percent shooter from three (although that fell to 32.5 percent last season, which makes you wonder where he is on the aging curve).
Miller to OKC makes a little sense because he played for new Thunder coach Billy Donovan in college at Florida. However, the Thunder have 15 guaranteed contracts on the roster — that’s the max a team can carry. The Thunder don’t have room for him unless they buy out a player to make room, which is highly unlikely.
This might be a situation where Miller waits until teams start the season and see what they have, and then a team with a need (or that had an injury) comes calling.