Riley said Friday that the new CBA really did, in the long run, hurt us.
Miller signed with the Heat in summer 2010 but was almost immediately beset by what became a series of injuries that limited his playing time.
Freak injuries to his thumbs limited his shooting in 2011 and a nagging back problem reduced his effectiveness in the 2012 season. But Miller shined in the 2012 NBA Finals despite a bulging disk in his back that was so painful he chose to lie on the baseline during games rather than sit in a chair on the bench.
He shot 63.6 percent in the 2012 Finals and delivered one of the best shooting performances in Finals history in Game 5, making 7 of 8 attempts from three-point range to help the Heat clinch its first championship in the Big 3 Era. Millers gutsy performance in Game 5 that season he hunched over in pain after every three-pointer catapulted him into NBA lore and cemented him forever as a Miami sports icon.
It was a special moment for me, dealing with the back injury and then being able to contribute in a close-out game, Miller said.
It was the first NBA championship of Millers career, and his heroic 23-point effort in Game 5 served as a catalyst for a business venture in the energy-drink business. Millers catchphrase Let it fly became the name of his new company, Let It Fly Energy (L.I.F.E.).
With the addition of Ray Allen for the 2012-13 season, Millers role was limited again, but his inactivity allowed his body time to heal. Millers effectiveness was apparent in games he started for Dwyane Wade. The Heat went 15-2 during the regular season with Miller in the starting lineup, and he shot 45.7 percent from three-point range in those games.
With the Heat needing a spark from the outside during the 2013 NBA Finals, Miller was inserted into the starting lineup beginning with Game 4. In Games 1-3, Miller was 10 of 11 from three-point range off the bench. As a starter, Miller went 3 of 4 from three-point range in Game 6 and famously made one of those shots without a shoe.
One-shoe Willie, Miller called himself Tuesday during a phone interview with the Miami Herald. Game 6 was one of the greatest games Ive ever seen, and to have that happen in that setting was crazy.
During the Heats championship celebration ceremony, fans showered Miller with shoes as he spoke about helping the Heat win back-to-back titles.
With Miller gone, the Heat now has 12 players under contract for next season. It could sign a player or two off of its summer-league roster, which includes 2012-13 rookie Jarvis Varnado, or use the two existing roster spots to sign veterans for the league minimum. The Heat also could use its taxpayers exception for next season ($3.2 million) and has been in talks with veteran center Greg Oden, who hasnt played a game since December 2009 because of injuries.
Rashard Lewis, who was used sparingly in 2012-13, will likely inherit some of Millers minutes, but Millers easy-going attitude in the locker room and his ability to block out pressure and let it fly during big playoff games will be difficult to replace.