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Grizzlies bring Heat castoff Mike Miller back to Memphis

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

The Memphis Grizzlies announced the signing of Mike Miller on Tuesday morning. From the press release:

The Memphis Grizzlies signed two-time NBA champion Mike Miller, the team announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. The signing reunites the Grizzlies with the sharpshooter, who still owns eight major franchise records after playing five-plus seasons in Memphis from 2002-08.

“We are extraordinarily pleased to welcome Mike Miller back to Memphis,” Grizzlies Chief Executive Officer Jason Levien said. “Mike is a special figure in our community due to his contributions both on and off the court. Mike is an elite three-point shooter, as Grizzlies fans know first-hand, and we expect his shooting, play-making, hustle and leadership to be a key component in our team competing with the best in the NBA next season.”

Miller (6-8, 218) has spent the last three seasons with the Miami Heat, where he helped the club to three consecutive NBA Finals and win back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013. Miller scored 23 points and went 7-of-8 from three-point range against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the championship-clinching Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals. He made 9-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first three games against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals, which Miami won in seven games. In 25 career NBA Finals games, Miller has shot 25-of-47 from long range (.532).

Before winning two titles in Miami, Miller starred for five-plus seasons for Memphis, averaging 14.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 three-pointers made on .477 shooting (.415 3FG shooting) in 32.0 minutes in 371 games (277 starts) with the Grizzlies from 2002-08. Traded by Orlando to Memphis on Feb. 19, 2003, Miller teamed with current Grizzlies center Marc Gasol's older brother Pau to guide the Grizzlies to their first three playoff appearances (2004, 2005 and 2006). He was honored as the NBA Sixth Man of the Year during the 2005-06 season, his only season with the Grizzlies in which he had more reserve appearances than starts.

Miller holds franchise career records for three-point field goal percentage (.415), three-point field goals made (737) and attempted (1,778). He also holds the single-season franchise record for three-point percentage (.433 in 2004-05) and three-pointers made and attempted (202 and 498 in 2006-07).

In addition, Miller holds the Grizzlies records for points in a game (career-high 45 on Feb. 21, 2007 at Golden State) and three-pointers made in a game (career-best nine on Jan. 3, 2007 vs. Golden State and Feb. 21, 2007 at Golden State).

He also ranks in the top 10 among franchise career leaders for points (5,403, 5th), assists (1,221, 5th), scoring average (8th), games started (8th), games played (9th) and rebounds (1,813, 10th).

Among Miller's other Grizzlies highlights are a triple-double off the bench (21 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) on Jan. 10, 2006 vs. Sacramento, the first triple-double ever by a Memphis player, and a 41-point performance off the bench on March 17, 2006 vs. Denver, setting the club record for points in a game by a reserve. He converted two four-point plays in the same game on Dec. 14, 2007 vs. LA Clippers.

Miller enjoyed the two highest-scoring seasons of his career during the 2006-07 season (career-high 18.5 points) and the 2007-08 campaign (16.4 points). Following the 2007-08 season, Memphis traded Miller with Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins and the draft rights to Kevin Love (5th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the draft rights to O.J. Mayo (3rd overall), Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric and Greg Buckner on June 26, 2008.

He spent the 2008-09 season in Minnesota and the following year with the Washington Wizards before signing with Miami as a free agent on July 15, 2010.

The 33-year-old, who ranks 20th in NBA history in career three-point field goal percentage (.406) and 22nd in career three-point field goals made (1,424), rejoins a Grizzlies team that made the Western Conference Finals last season but finished last in the league in both three-point makes (382) and attempts (1,107) and placed 24th in three-point percentage (.345).

Miller owns career averages of 12.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.7 three-pointers made on .461 shooting (.406 3FG shooting) in 831 games (549 starts) in 13 seasons with Orlando, Memphis, Minnesota, Washington and Miami. After leading the University of Florida to the 2000 NCAA Championship Game as a sophomore, Miller was drafted by Orlando in the first round (5th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft and was named the 2000-01 NBA Rookie of the Year. He won a gold medal with USA Basketball men's national team at the FIBA Americas Championship 2007 in Las Vegas.

Miller informed Memphis last week he would accept their offer after being amnestied by the Heat earlier this month. The Memphis Flyer reports that after accepting a league-minimum (thanks in part to the money he'll still be paid by Miami) and league reimbursement for veterans, the team will only have to pay Miller $884,000, an absolute steal.

The move gives the Grizzlies the shooter they've needed for years and brings back a popular franchise player.

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