Miller deal formalized with Heat
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) – Once Mike Miller’s deal with Miami finally got completed Friday, the Heat moved quickly to add other pieces to their dramatically changed roster.
The Heat landed a pair of centers, re-signing restricted free agent Joel Anthony to a five-year deal worth around $18 million and also inking second-round draft pick Dexter Pittman from Texas to a three-year contract. Anthony has spent three seasons with the Heat, mostly as a defensive-minded reserve. Pittman was the 32nd pick in last month’s draft and has been with Miami’s summer-league club.
Next up: Miami is getting set to add more big men.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas agreed to join the Heat on Tuesday and may be signed by Saturday, and Miami is also closing in on adding veteran forward Juwan Howard – an ironic twist, considering Pat Riley tried to land Howard in a $99 million deal 14 years ago that was voided by the NBA.
But before going forward with anyone else, Miami needed to get the deal with Miller done.
“From the first moment that we met Mike on July 1, it seemed like it would be a match made in heaven,” Riley, the Heat president, said in a statement. “We consider him to be the finest perimeter shooter in the NBA.”
Miller made 48 percent of his 3-pointers last season for Washington, second-best in the NBA behind Kyle Korver.
The 6-foot-8 shooter agreed in principle about a week earlier to a five-year deal worth about $25 million and actually signed his contract Thursday, but it took about another 24 hours for it become finalized because of other paperwork issues.
He was considered a vital part of Miami’s offseason plan, which of course started with the re-signing of Dwyane Wade and the additions of LeBron James – Miller’s close friend – and Chris Bosh.
James said he wanted Miller to play with him, even talking the former Florida Gator into passing up higher-paying deals for a chance to sign with Miami.
“He is a multifaceted player who can rebound, handle the ball and make plays,” Riley said. “We expect big things from him.”
After Friday’s signings, Miami now has eight players under contract, with Miller, Pittman and Anthony joining Wade, Bosh, James, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem.
Anthony has been with the Heat for three seasons, mainly as a defensive-minded reserve who could now be a starter.
“This contract with Joel Anthony is a testament to the man who is second to none; who has worked hard and deserved this,” Riley said. “We felt that what he has done over the last couple of years in developing his game, his body and his knowledge warrants this reward. If other NBA non-drafted free agents want a prototype to follow, Joel Anthony is that man.”
The 6-foot-10, 290-pound Pittman has been with Miami’s summer league team after the Heat took him with the 32nd selection in last month’s draft.
The Heat expected during the draft that Jermaine O’Neal would not be back in Miami for the coming season, so Miami used its first of what was four second-round choices to grab Pittman. O’Neal’s departure also made re-signing Anthony a priority.
“Dexter has the size and agility to be a very productive player for us in the long run, and there is no better place for him to improve than in the Miami Heat system,” Riley said.
Miami has had conversations with swingman Matt Barnes, who played with Orlando last season and delayed his anticipated Friday decision on 2010-11 because other teams were contacting him. The Heat also are considering other second-round draft picks Da’Sean Butler and Jarvis Varnado, plus have interest in free agent point guards Keyon Dooling and Chris Quinn.