First off thanks to reader Georgia for the Fan Post (see below) that gave me the heads up on this signing. I remember the C's worked Miles out earlier this summer, but I didn't really think it would go anywhere. And lo and behold it happened. Some thoughts on the deal.
1. My first thought? Blazers fans are not going to like this. Remember when Miles was waived the following came to light:
"Assuming that Miles does not pass another team’s physical and get picked up by another NBA franchise, the Blazers would be able to take the last two years of his $48 million contract off their salary cap."
That same article had a big time quote from Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard,
"The doctors had actually said…‘if you were my son, I’d never have you pick up a basketball again. I’m the kind of GM (that) I wouldn’t want that on my head that he ever had to have knee replacement." - Pritchard
I guess Danny Ainge is the kind of GM that is okay with it. As expected Blazers fans are not pleased. Lot of reactions there, especially after the thread picks back up following a detour of sorts. I found one comment particularly insightful. It's called "No wishing him the best: [Green Bandwagon UPDATE: Since the initial posting I've gotten some feedback from Blazers fans/Blazers Edge readers and the following does not represent the opinion of the vast majority of them. While it still may be useful in regards to the extreme or how things could go if Miles were to play sparingly in 10 games and get cut, it is now clear to me that it is definitely the exception and not the rule.]
"The procedure followed by the Blazers is that the league and the players union appointed an independent doctor to examine the evidence and issue a ruling. That ruling affected the Blazers, Miles, and any team interested in Miles. It was the Blazers, however, who had the risk. Miles was, after all, under contract. And when the ruling was issued, Miles was not willing to give the Blazers the same contract that he then went out and offered to all other teams. Instead, he kept the Blazers guaranteed contract, which they have to pay regardless of whatever contract he signed with NY. In sum, if NY pays the minimum, then the Blazers pay the difference between the minimum and the $9 million/year they owe Darius.
Darius and his agent, in sum, took advantage of the situation. Some of you who wish him the best should keep that in mind. If he’d offered the Blazers the same deal he offered all other teams – basically, let me play and I’ll show you I’m worthy of a roster spot, and I’ll also absolve you of liability if I reinjure myself – then I can understand your position.
But he didn’t do that.
As a Blazer fan, I have no sympathy for Miles or his agent. He was not a $9 million/year player – knew it, and every other team knew it. But the Blazers pay for it.
Now, if he should make the roster, the Blazers also lose the cap space, just as they lost the player. The cap space was nothing more than an off-set to the salary they must still pay – but gave them the ability to replace him without penalties.
Under the circumstances, its in my interest that he blows the knee out and never plays again.
So, no wishing him the best here." - Eben Calder
Anytime a person openly states a desire to see someone blow out a knee...well that's a clear signal the stakes are high. The Miles signing is definitely bad news in the midst of all the Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez excitement. We could be watching the beginning of a Celtics/Trail Blazers blood feud. Henry Abbott summed the situation up nicely a while back:
"Everyone knows, however, that the Blazers have a business interest in keeping Darius Miles from playing in the League in the next two years -- if he plays ten games, his medical retirement is over, and Miles' salary is back counting against Portland's salary cap and luxury tax number." - Henry Abbott
More after the jump...
2. Miles is only 26. Yet another straight to the pros high school guy that seems like he's been around forever. Along those lines hat tip to Celtics Blog for digging up a classic SI Cover from what feels like a really long time ago:
3. Miles is also one of the ultimate, "What if?" guys.
4. It's not a given that Miles will make the roster. But if he does the Celtics will be even more loaded with question marks. Can Tony Allen step up and help replace James Posey? Will J.R. Giddens avoid controversy? What can Gabe Pruitt bring to the table? Will Bill Walker get healthy, sign, and contribute? And don't forget about Patrick O'Bryant. Granted it makes sense given how much money Ray Allen, KG, and Paul Pierce make. Still outside of those three the Celtics are not as veteran a team as you would imagine. It behooves (hat tip Bob Cousy) Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, and Leon Powe to continue improving, working hard, and contributing to a winning culture. Meanwhile, I wonder if there is a point where there are too many gambles on the roster.
5. Speaking of making the roster. If he did Miles would miss the first 10 games due to a previous failed drug test.
6. Miles is an under the radar YouTube All-Star. To this day the clip I call "Special Delivery!" is one of my favorites. As a side note watch that clip. With Corey Maggette's departure all those guys are out of LA now. I also appreciate Miles' bizarre Slamball cameo (no idea what he says) and this Nike commercial with Quentin Richardson when they do that thing I never really understood: