Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: November 12, 2011 9:04 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 10:03 pm

Heat to waive Mike Miller with amnesty clause?

Posted by Ben Gollivermike-miller

Will it be one-and-done for Miami Heat forward Mike Miller?

Miller represented the final piece of the Heat's free agent puzzle bonanza during the summer of 2010, hopping aboard after guard Dwyane Wade re-signed and forwards LeBron James and Chris Both took their talents to South Beach.

Targeted as a floor-spacing shooter and all-around team guy, Miller dealt with injuries throughout the 2010-2011 season and never had the impact his 5-year, $30 million contract demanded.

This week, the Sun-Sentinel reports that Miller has put his Miami mansion on the market, listing it for $9 million, and is openly discussing the possibility that he might be waived by the Heat using the amnesty clause that is expected to be a part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
The veteran forward said Wednesday he is just taking stock of the current situation in both his career and the NBA. And that means taking stock of his 9,968-square-foot estate with the $180,000 in annual property taxes.

"It's a couple of things," Miller said. "Just preparing myself; never know what can happen."

"If anything happens with the amnesty, this is just going to be a business decision and I can respect that," he said. "Teams will only get one opportunity to use it. I can respect that part of it."
The Heat face two questions with regard to Miller and the amnesty clause. Do they amnesty him? And, if so, when? Remember, the current amnesty clause proposal would let a team use it at any apoint during the next two seasons and potentially for the duration of any current contracts. In other words, the decision wouldn't need to be made immediately.

Besides Wade, James and Bosh, the Heat have just three players under contract that can meaningfully contribute: Miller, forward Udonis Haslem and center Joel Anthony. Point guard Mario Chalmers is a restricted free agent and could return to the team as well. The Heat will also have a mid-level exception to play with, and they figure to use that to beef up their frontcourt depth. So, at most, that's a core of eight players (including the MLE target) plus a whole lot of youngsters and minimum salary players to fill out the roster. The Heat are stretched thin with Miller; without him, they would be stretched really thin.

While Miller didn't live up to his contract last year, finances alone aren't the major concern in any amnesty decision, as using it would require Heat owner Micky Arison to pay Miller the balance of his salary and settle for zero on-court production in return. Waiving Miller now would be all about reducing the payroll to free up salary cap flexibility, but it's not totally clear yet how helpful shedding his salary will be. If the Heat do retain Chalmers and use their mid-level exception, they will be fairly close to the luxury tax line, and probably above it, even if they waive Miller. They'll be paying out big dollars with or without him, an eventuality that Arison seems to have no problem with. 

There is talk, however, that the value of a mid-level exception would be significantly smaller for luxury tax paying teams than for non tax-payers. If this winds up being true, keeping Miller and re-signing Chalmers could put Miami in the luxury tax and, theoretically, could limit their potential targets in free agency by reducing the total dollar amount Miami is able to offer with their mid-level. In other words, if Miller is cast out immediately it's likely to happen so that Miami can bring in a full mid-level free agent who can play meaningful minutes and wouldn't settle for the smaller mid-level available to luxury tax payers. (Note: The specific mechanics for what would be available to Miami, and when, will not be set in stone until a new CBA is reached.)

Let's not lose sight of the fact that it's a virtual guarantee that Miller has a better season in 2011-2012 than he did in 2010-2011. He played a career-low in games last year and averaged career-lows in minutes, points and assists. He's still just 31; he's primed for a bounceback campaign in one form or another. Even if he underperforms his past peak production, he's only on the books for $5.4 million, so it will be very difficult for him to be outrageously overpaid unless he can't physically take the court. On paper, he's still the same versatile, intelligent perimeter threat that can serve as an outlet for Wade and James. If Miller goes, Miami would need to address the hole he leaves and they will need to pay to do so.

An attractive option, then, would be to simply punt on the Miller decision. While Miller is on the books officially for $24 million over four more years, Miami essentially has a team option for $5.4 million thanks to the amnesty clause. Waiting until next season to execise the amnesty would give Miami another year to show why he was a top Heat target in 2010 and to see if the developed chemistry between the Big 3 and their supporting pieces that was often on display during playoff series victories over the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls can be realized in the sequel season. If injury does strike again, Miami could always amnesty Miller prior to the 2012-2013 season and go mid-level exception hunting at that time. 

The least risky play for Miami, then, is to give Miller a swan song, bring back Chalmers (unless his price is really stepp), and get the best big man they can find with the mid-level, regardless of whether they are able to use a normal mid-level or a reduced luxury tax payer mid-level. If the season does wind up starting sooner rather than later, maintaining continuity from last season and keeping their options open going forward would seem to be the prudent play during a crunched free agency period and a shortened season.

Miller is smart to list his house for sale so that he has a jumpstart if things go south for him in South Beach. But there's still a decent chance he's back for redemption with the Heat whenever the lockout ends.
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:14 pm

LeBron's already missed out on $12M from the Heat

Posted by Royce Young

For the last three years, everyone has been advising players to save up money, divert some into different account or just hoard it all in a piggy bank to prepare for this impending lockout.

Why? Because everyone knew this was coming. Officially, most players don't miss a paycheck until Nov. 15 (or so), but the three Miami Heat titans don't care about that. Forget saving -- they wanted their contracts loaded up on the FRONT end. Via ESPN.com:
Heat owner Micky Arison is worth more than $4 billion and his sitting on a massive lump of money from thousands of season ticket holders who’ve paid in full. Not to mention he didn’t have to pay LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh their July balloon payments. James, sources said, was owed a $12 million check in July as part of his contract that allowed him to get 80 percent of his annual salary up front. That cash is still sitting in the Heat’s coffers. Yet the Heat’s employees are all swallowing 25 percent paycuts right now because of the lockout. We infer from this exactly what Arison has proven for years: he’s a businessman not just a billionaire.
That is just so Miami Heat. Don't think about the consequence, only think about the now.

Now, of course, LeBron, Wade and Bosh will get their balloon payments that they're owed once the lockout ends. But right now, Arison is sitting on a pile of money that he doesn't have to give to his three superstars. I'm sure he wants to because that means basketball is back, but he doesn't have to. Which isn't so bad.

And as the report notes, Arison cut back on Heat employee salaries during the lockout despite having this rainy day fund. Even though he's got more than $20 million extra, he didn't keep his employees at their normal salary. Probably because eventually he has to pay it back, but still, it's not like he didn't have the money.

Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:06 pm

LeBron oops himself, leaves nice lady hanging

Posted by Royce Young

LeBron James alleys. LeBron James oops. LeBron James poses. LeBron James leaves lady in the front row hanging on a high-five.

Kind of LeBron's entire story summed up right then and there in one play, right? Great play, great skill but in the end, he missed an opportunity.

And keep in mind, LeBron was playing in a charity game -- Rudy Gay's in Memphis, where LeBron scored 43 points -- that he wasn't getting paid to be in and didn't have to play in. But you know people are going to give him crap for this. Not just for leaving the lady hanging on her high-five, but for not getting back on defense while he instead preened with his mouthpiece. Because defense is so very important in that setting.

But boy, that was an awkward three seconds as he stood there in what appeared to be a coma and completely overlooked the poor woman trying to celebrate with him in the front row. And then she had to resort to just grabbing his hand and shaking it around. So, so awkward.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:21 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 3:21 pm

'Whore of Akron' author goes to LeBron's house

Posted by Royce Young

A lot of people took LeBron leaving Cleveland for the Heat last summer hard. Dan Gilbert, most obviously. But fans burned jerseys in the streets, burned headbands and basically cursed the name of the man they cheered relentlessly for seven years.

But nobody took it harder than author Scott Raab, who wrote a book called The Whore of Akron. Which as you might have guessed, it all about LeBron. In the book, Raab even wishes a career-ending injury upon LeBron.

Raab hasn't gotten along well with LeBron or the Heat's PR people since he started his book last summer, even finding himself banned from Heat games. He even had "Quitness" shaved into his hair before LeBron's return to Cleveland. So in a clever promotional move, Raab took it all to the next level, attempting to hand deliver his book -- again, titled The Whore of Akron -- to LeBron's house.

Raab signed it: "To LeBron: With gratitude for making it possible." Aww, how sweet.

Posted on: November 4, 2011 4:26 pm

LeBron, Durant explain 'Basketball Never Stops'

Posted by Ben Golliver

You wouldn't think a self-evident catch-phrase like Nike's "Basketball Never Stops" would require further explanation, but that didn't stop the shoe giant from releasing a companion piece to its recent ad starring LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Amar'e Stoudemire.

In the companion video, James, Durant, Nowitzki and others explain what the phrase "Basketball Never Stops" -- an obvious nod to the ongoing NBA lockout -- means to them.

"No matter where you're at, no matter what time of the day, you can always have a love for the game, and you can always play the game," James explains. "You could be playing inside your house with your loved ones or at a rec league with kids, or playing at a rec league with 40-and-over guys, it doesn't matter. The game of basketball never stops no matter what's going on in the world because people love the game that much."

"No matter if it's the offseason, vacation, holiday, always find a way to get in the gym and get better," Durant adds. "No matter if you're just working out by yourself or playing pickup the game never stops, no matter what you're doing. That's the type of approach I try to have."

Nowitzki chimes in: "I'm 33 years old now, and I'm still in the gym in the summer, working out, trying to get better, trying out certain moves."

And Stoudemire polishes it off. "You're always thinking about basketball," he says. "It's something that you sleep, you dream, when you're awake, you play, you think about it."

So, as it turns out, "Basketball Never Stops" pretty much means that basketball never stops. Now you know.

Here's the video courtesy of YouTube user NikeBasketball.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 4:43 pm

The Biggest Game of the Night We're Missing: 11.3

Posted by Ben Golliver


No doubt, Wednesday's season opener at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks would have been big. But the Miami Heat's home opener at American Airlines Arena on Thursday night against the Orlando Magic would have promised even more hype, even more storylines.

The bitterness and resentment between Florida's two Eastern Conference powers is well-documented. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy took a full clip worth of shots at the formation of the Big 3 last season. Magic center Dwight Howard spent half the lockout making fun of LeBron James' half-head of hair. The Heat never offered that much of a reply to the sniping, if only because they were too busy enjoying their new standing as "Big Brother" in the relationship. 

But last season's results casts a major shadow over this budding rivalry. Miami won 58 games and made it to the Finals; Orlando took a step back, winning 52 games and exiting in the first round of the playoffs. The Heat's star appears to be rising forever; Orlando's threatens to dim, resting entirely on whether Howard decides to re-up with the only professional team he has known or whether he decides to hijack his way out of town like Carmelo Anthony during the season or leave during summer 2012 free agency like LeBron James and Chris Bosh did in 2010.

Will Howard follow the lead of his hated rivals, in order to better position himself to dethrone them, or won't he? Will his patience with his revolving door supporting cast last, or won't it?

That off-court drama would be the backdrop for this game, which happens to feature the two most dominant players in the game today -- James and Howard -- plus a third All-NBAer in Dwyane Wade and Bosh, everyone's favorite lightning rod punching bag, who was last season crumpling to his knees crying after losing to the Dallas Mavericks. All four of those stars are at or near their respective primes.

The team's split 2-2 last season, playing three fairly competitive games after Miami held Orlando to 70 points in a late-October laugher. A repeat Heat rout on national television here wouldn't have come as a surprise.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:39 pm

The Biggest Game of the Night We're Missing: 11.2

Posted by Royce Young

Nothing could compare to the hype and spotlight on the Miami Heat in their first season together. Right? The constant scrutiny, the microscope on every little thing -- the Heat were THE story in the NBA last season. Their second year together would've seen some of that fade away as interest in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh's experiment waned.

Wrong. Actually, it probably would've been worse this season. Which means like last year, the Miami Heat would've been the thing we all talk about all the time. Why? Because they choked away an NBA title last season. They haven't won. They haven't started to fulfill the promise of "not one, not two, not three..."

And they would've been kicking off Game 1 of 82 tonight. But not just anywhere. They would've been playing at Madison Square Garden. Oh man, this lockout hurts.

Both teams virtually would look the same. The Heat had some offseason decisions to make on their elderly players and the Knicks had a nice draft pick to unveil in Iman Shumpert, but it was going to be Melo, Amar'e and Chauncey versus LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Which was going to be a blast.

Think about it: The last game the Heat played was a heartbreaking Game 6 loss to the Mavericks in The Finals. The last game the Knicks played was an embarrassing beatdown in the sweep to the Celtics. You want to teams itching for opening night? Well, you got them here. And in The World's Most Famous Arena to boot.

Both teams are good, but it would be the individual matchups we'd salivate over. LeBron against Melo. Wade against defensive-minded Landry Fields. Amar'e against Bosh. I'm not sure if the Knicks are really ready to take that step into contendership, but this game would've at least made a statement one way or the other.

The Knicks topped the Heat in Miami late last season with Melo actually taking over the on both ends late. He blocked LeBron and scored a couple of late baskets to seal it. Would that happen again? Or would the Heat start off by asserting themselves as the dominant team in the East? Alas, questions we won't get answers to. At least for the foreseeable future.

Starpower, good basketball, good teams, great atmosphere -- it would've been a helluva way to follow up a great opening night.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:08 pm

Video: LeBron vs. Kobe 1-on-1. Who you got?

By Matt Moore

The L.A. Times decided to ask a popular and interesting question to a collection of NBA players, and the responses were at once not suprising, and kind of intriguing. 


Some notes:

  • Matt Barnes' "Don't nobody lose to Kobe one-on-one" should be entered into the great quotes of our time. 
  • Durant's modesty has no fatigue. Mentions LeBron, Kobe, and Wade, is asked about his place, and he says he's "nowhere near those guys." It's that comment you love to hear from a superstar, and you rarely get. 
  • Wall's comments about LeBron were particularly interesting. Wall's close with LeBron, has been since high school. So for him to essentially challenge LeBron to play in the post more is pretty interesting. It's also pretty accurate. I think Bryant would kill him from the high post and off the dribble with pull-ups, but if James bodied and bullied him low, he could keep it close for pretty much forever. 
  • Trevor Ariza nails it: "I don't know who'd win, but I'd pay to watch it." 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com