Mike Miller: Casualty of the CBA? Thanks to the eight-figure salaries owed to LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat will definitely be over the luxury tax threshold in the 2012 season. Much of the debate over the new CBA was geared toward stiffer punishment for taxpaying teams. That punishment could mean the end of Mike Miller in Miami. The Heat will almost certainly use the full mid-level exception on a center (Samuel Dalembert, perhaps?), and as a result, the Heat may benefit most from using the new amnesty provision to remove Miller’s contract from their salary cap.
The backup shooting guard role isn’t a big-minute role in Miami thanks to Wade’s presence, but we could see a name like a Michael Redd or a Tracy McGrady brought in to play a veteran bench role in a title chase. Miller should have some suitors on the supplemental waiver wire if he is cut using the amnesty provision. in just over 20 minutes per game last season, he hit one three-pointer per game and averaged 5.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. A team lacking shooters off the bench would be wise to put in a bid on him.
Paul Millsap: Headed to Indianapolis? Elsewhere? 2011 was a breakout season for Millsap. After being a reliable double-digit point scorer for the Jazz in ’09 and ’10, Millsap thrived without Carlos Boozer and later without Deron Williams. Millsap hit 53|PERCENT| of his shots and averaged 17.3 points and 7.6 rebounds with the new-look Jazz team.
The Jazz may be looking to sell high on the 25-year-old with Derrick Favors in tow as the spoils from the Williams trade and Enes Kanter added with the #3 pick in the draft. News has been flying of an offer from the Indiana Pacers for the budding small forward, and according to the Salt Lake Tribune, Millsap was also on the block during last year’s draft. Given Millsap’s youth and improvement last season, he should be a target both for NBA teams and for fantasy owners alike.
Andrei Kirilenko: Is he really injured? Kirilenko’s Russian team is reporting that he is out until January with a shoulder injury. His agent says otherwise, noting only a broken nose and no shoulder issue. At this point, it’s all coming out as one big game of telephone, so we’ll keep an eye on this as the story develops and clearer reports come out of Kirilenko’s Mother Russia, if he even decides to return to the NBA at all. He is an unrestricted free agent and could decide to finish his contract with CSKA Moscow instead.
Brandon Roy: Will Portland amnesty him? With the degeneration of Brandon Roy’s knees, it seemed like his max contract running through 2013-2014 would be one of the easiest choices under the new amnesty clause. But there is a wrinkle: the amnesty clause can be held and used during any season under the current CBA. This year, the Blazers could waive Roy, still have to pay him, but merely get under the luxury tax line and earn the rights to use the mid-level exception again. If they hold Roy for 2011-2012 and then amnesty him before next season, Portland can get another semi-healthy year out of their investment and create some cap space.
The decision seems to hinge on just how cheap Blazers owner Paul Allen is feeling. Given his prominence as a hardliner in the lockout negotiations, I could quite easily see him taking the cheap option, even if the other option helps his team more in the long run.