People often talk about loyalty and how some players in the NBA don’t have enough of it. How can Ray Allen leave the Boston Celtics to join arch-nemesis Miami Heat? How can Jeremy Lin betray and back stab the New York Knicks after they gave him life? These are the questions fans ask when their players depart for one reason or another.
If the amnestying of Mike Miller on Tuesday by Miami is of any indication, though, the NBA is truly nothing more than a business. The difference is that franchises don’t necessarily get the same kind of scrutiny players receive for doing what’s best for them.
Miller took a backseat for much of the regular season, but stayed ready and played key-minutes in the playoffs – when it mattered the most – to help the Heat capture their second consecutive championship in 2013. He provided plenty of memorable moments along the way, such as this one:
The reasoning behind using the amnesty provision on Miller is certainly understandable from a financial standpoint – the team would save millions of dollars in the next couple of seasons by making the cost-cutting move.
From a loyalty standpoint, this is quite a disservice. Miller made enough of an impact this season to say that he was an integral part of what the Heat needed from the bench in order to beat the San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the Finals. His ability to stretch the floor was a game-changer (for LeBron James in particular), and he was just good enough as a defender and rebounder to warrant leaving him in the game for long stretches to spell Dwyane Wade. For his contributions, Miller has been asked to pack his bags.
Some may argue that Miller will still get paid by the team so he should be just fine, but it’s not always about money. This is different than the Los Angeles Lakers’ decision to amnesty Metta World Peace – who helped them win a championship a few seasons ago – because they are coming off a dreadful postseason and changes were necessary after losing their bid for Dwight Howard. Again, the Heat just won a championship. It’s a shame, but this is simply – and unfortunately – the business aspect of the league. Here is what TNT analyst Steve Kerr had to say about the matter:
Hate to see Miami have to amnesty Mike Miller. Huge part of the Heat’s back to back run and a great pro. They’ll miss him.
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerrTNT) July 17, 2013