By the time next season’s NBA playoffs arrive, nine years will have passed since Mike Miller last enjoyed a postseason victory.
He’s coming to Miami to change that.
Miller signed his long-awaited five-year contract with the Heat on Thursday, becoming the latest player to take less money than he could have made elsewhere to play for Miami. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem all did the same in recent days, all with eyes on winning a championship.
"It’s official!" Miller wrote on Twitter, thanking the Heat, owner Micky Arison and team president Pat Riley for making it happen.
After James, Bosh and Wade decided to team up, the Heat knew they needed a shooter to complement the All-Star trio, and that only raised Miller’s stock in Miami. Riley met with Miller in the very first moments after free agency opened at 12:01 a.m. eastern time on July 1, sitting down with him in a Beverly Hills hotel room for a sales pitch unlike any other.
The Heat, Riley said that night, were going after James and Bosh to join Wade. And they wanted Miller to join the party.
Miller talked with at least four other teams after that, but in the end, nothing was going to change his mind about coming to the Heat.
"Pat had a vision for the team, a vision that he laid out with evangelical fervor," Miller’s agent, Arn Tellem, wrote on his blog earlier this week. "We left the room converted."
The convert now has a contract, worth around $25 million. It was signed on the same day the Minnesota Timberwolves planned to introduce former Heat forward Michael Beasley to their fan base, which is more than coincidental. By trading Beasley for draft picks, that cleared the cap space Miami needed to sign Miller.
He agreed to the deal in principle late last week after James picked Miami. Some minor hangups in the contract process sparked speculation that Miller would go elsewhere, rumors that were proven unfounded.
Miller shot a career-best 48 percent from 3-point range last season with Washington, with career averages of 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds.
James played a significant role in recruiting Miller to Miami, and in turn, that made Haslem’s decision to stay much easier as well. Haslem and Miller have been close for many years, going back to their time together as Florida Gators.
"That’s my college roommate," Haslem said earlier this week. "Our relationship is a lot deeper than just basketball. He’s like Dwyane is to me, except we’re just different colors. I would say Dwyane is my brother and I would say Mike is brother. Different backgrounds, obviously different races, but that’s my brother."
Miami becomes Miller’s fifth NBA team, after stints with Orlando, Memphis, Minnesota and Washington. He hasn’t appeared in a postseason game since 2006, and has never played in the second round of the playoffs. The last time he was part of a playoff win was with Orlando in 2002; Miller’s teams are 0-14 in postseason contests since.