The Miami Heat are having more success filling out a roster around their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh than many analysts predicted. Mike Miller, a forward considered one of the best shooters in the NBA, has signed with the Heat for five seasons and an estimated US$25 million (Dh92m). Miller, 30, shot a career-best 48 percent from three-point range last season with Washington. He has career averages of 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
He joins the forward Udonis Haslem and the guard Mario Chalmers as teammates of the free-agent trio. The centre Zydrunas Ilgauskas, James's teammate in Cleveland, reportedly will join the Heat as well. Some believed a lack of salary-cap space, after the team committed $328m to James, Wade and Bosh, would limit the Heat to marginal players. Meanwhile, Wade defended James, his new teammate, from criticism by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who said James "quit" during the play-offs.
Said Wade: "He's not a quitter. LeBron had one bad game in the play-offs. Other than that, he did what he could do with the (Boston) defence all watching him." Gilbert was fined $100,000 by the league for his criticism of James, but many in Cleveland thought the fine unfair. On Thursday, children in a Cleveland suburb sold lemonade at 50 cents per cup with the intent of giving money earned to Gilbert to help pay his hefty fine.
Molly Sponseller, 10, said she and her friends were showing support for Gilbert, adding, "he's not a bad man". The Cavaliers also learned that Delonte West, their troubled guard, pleaded guilty to weapons charges and received a home detention sentence that includes flexibility to travel to games if the league allows it. The Cavaliers are expected to release West. Elsewhere, the Utah Jazz obtained centre Al Jefferson from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for centre Kosta Koufos and two first-round draft picks. Jefferson, 25, is expected to bring scoring punch and rebounding to a Jazz team that lost the veteran forward Carlos Boozer to the Chicago Bulls.