- Category: Original
30 Jul 2013
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Once a Memphis Grizzly, again a Memphis Grizzly as sharpshooter officially returns to the team after two-year championship run with the Miami Heat.
Mike Miller's signing was announced Tuesday. No deal details were released. Miller, who played five-plus years with the Grizzlies, still holds 8 of the franchise's major records.
At Tuesday's press conference, Miller said he has paid a lot of attention to the Grizzlies from afar, noting the team's closeness.
"I think they've got the best two big men combination in the game. Mike Conley I truly believe is the most underrated player in the league. You mix in some shooting and some guard rebounding and it opens this whole thing up and let's you work through your strengths," he said.
"Hopefully I can bring that ability to rebound and make shots and spread the floor for these guys so they can go to work."
Grizzlies new head coach David Joerger said Miller is a key missing piece.
"He gives us versatility in our lineup in that we can play him at small forward, we can play him at power forward," said Joerger. "Do you have any idea how excited (Grizz in-the-paint specialist) Zach Randolph is right now? (Center) Marc Gasol (is) as well."
Grizzlies Chief Executive Officer Jason Levien said the organization is "extraordinarily pleased" welcome Miller back to Memphis.
"Mike is a special figure in our community due to his contributions both on and off the court. Mike is an elite three-point shooter, as Grizzlies fans know first-hand, and we expect his shooting, play-making, hustle and leadership to be a key component in our team competing with the best in the NBA next season."
Miller (6-8, 218) spent the last three seasons with the Miami Heat, helping King James and company to three consecutive NBA Finals and back-to-back NBA championships. In 25 career NBA Finals games, Miller has shot 25-of-47 from long range (.532).
Miller starred for Memphis, averaging 14.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 three-pointers made on .477 shooting (.415 3FG shooting) in 32.0 minutes in 371 games (277 starts) with the Grizzlies from 2002-08. Traded by Orlando to Memphis in February 2003, he helped guide the Grizzlies to their first three playoff appearances (2004, 2005 and 2006). He was honored as the NBA Sixth Man of the Year during the 2005-06 season.
Memphis traded Miller with Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins and the draft rights to Kevin Love (5th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the draft rights to O.J. Mayo (3rd overall), Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric and Greg Buckner in June 2008.
He spent the 2008-09 season in Minnesota and the following year with the Washington Wizards before signing with Miami as a free agent in July 2010.
Miller, 33, led the University of Florida to the 2000 NCAA Championship Game as a sophomore and was drafted by Orlando in the first round (5th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft, He was named the 2000-01 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Off the court, Miller donated $200,000 to St. Jude on May 28, 2008, the largest-ever donation to St. Jude by a Grizzlies player. In honor of Miller and his wife Jennifer's donation, St. Jude named its exercise room the Mason and Mavrick Miller Fitness Room after the Millers' two sons. They also have one daughter, Jaelyn.