The Darius Miles saga takes yet another turn:
Miles underwent microfracture surgery to repair his right knee as a member of the Trail Blazers in November 2006. He was released by Portland last April after his injury was judged to be “career-ending” by an independent medical examiner appointed by the NBA and the players union.
Miles, 27, has attempted a comeback this season, playing a total of eight exhibition and regular-season games with the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies, who waived him Tuesday to avoid having to guarantee his contract for the rest of the season.
This much you knew. But now there’s this:
Put Miles on the court, say the Blazers, and we may sue you.
Say what? Well, it’s like this:
If Miles were to be picked up by an NBA team and play in two more NBA games, his original $9 million salary for this season as well as next season would be reinstated to Portland’s official payroll, pushing the Blazers over the luxury tax threshold this season — costing them millions of dollars — while hurting their chances to sign a major free agent this summer.
If Miles is included, the Blazers have $80 million on the books as salary; the luxury-tax threshold is $71.15 million. And as every NBA GM knows, it’s not just players you actually have who cost you money. Steve Francis has the Blazers on the hook for about $14 million; he’s since been signed by Memphis for a lot less than that, but the original contract remains on the Blazers’ books. (This is hardly unheard of: Donyell Marshall, who represents about $6 million of Oklahoma City’s salary, is lately playing for the Sixers.)
What would make this amusing, perhaps, would be if Miles were to sue the Blazers, charging restraint of trade.
Addendum: And so would this:
Nobody in the NBA loves a good legal battle more than Mark Cuban, whose Mavs happen to have an open spot on the roster. And Miles … did work out for the Mavs this summer.
I doubt the threat of legal action would make Cuban shy away from signing Miles. It might actually encourage him to do so.
We won’t even mention the $200k or so each team stands to receive if the Blazers do in fact hit the luxury-tax threshold.
Addendum, 10 January: The Grizzlies will be signing Miles to a 10-day contract.