Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 6/29/12
MIAMI -- Mike Miller can rest easy. Miami Heat president Pat Riley said after Thursday night's draft he doesn't expect to amnesty Miller or any other player this summer. "I don't want to go through the same thing," Riley said of what the swingman had to endure through last year when there was talk he could be an amnesty victim. According to the collective bargaining agreement signed last December, teams can amnesty one player who was on their roster at the time of the deal. The player would get the money left on his contract but it wouldn't count against the team for salary-cap or luxury-tax purposes. Teams only can use the amnesty rule once. One reason the Heat won't use it this summer is it might make more sense to save it for when a more punitive luxury tax is enacted for the 2013-14 season. Miller is hampered by a bulging disk in his back that could require surgery, and might result in his retirement. But the former University of Florida star did score 23 points in 23 minutes June 21 when the Heat wrapped up a 4-1 NBA Finals over Oklahoma City. "If Mike Miller could guarantee me a seventh game in the Finals, I would let him sit out all year," Riley said with a laugh on a night in which the Heat picked up project center Justin Hamilton with the No. 45 pick in the second round after they had traded their No. 27 pick to Philadelphia. As for Miller's health, Riley said it will a few weeks before it's decided what path of action might be taken. Miller, who said last Monday there was a chance he could be an amnesty victim, has three years and 18.6 million left on his contract. "He has been examined," Riley said. "There hasn't been any real prognosis. We are going to treat it and rehab it before the doctor makes a final decision. Mike is going to go through a summer of real rehabilitation." Miller isn't the only Miami player who has gotten good news this week about his future. Riley said the Heat won't exercise an option to release center Dexter Pittman by Saturday's deadline. So he will be on the roster next season for about 1 million. "Big guys, when you draft them late, it's a two- or three-year project," Riley said. "He's going into his third year. We expect improvement." The Heat could be overloaded with big men next season. Ronny Turiaf holds a player option for next season worth 1.2 million. Agent Mark Bartelstein said Tuesday no decision will be made on Turiaf until just before Saturday's deadline. Miami also picked up Hamilton out of Louisiana State in Thursday's second round, although there's a good chance he could play overseas next season with the Heat retaining his rights. The Heat had entered the night with the No. 27 pick, but traded it to the 76ers for the No. 45 selection, which became Hamilton, and a future first-round pick. The future first is protected through the No. 13 selection in 2013, No. 14 in 2014 and No. 15 in 2015. If the Heat don't get that pick by 2015, they also will get second-round picks from Philadelphia in 2015 and 2016. "The trade had nothing to do with the luxury tax," Riley said of speculation the Heat traded out of the first round so as not to have a player contract they would have to guarantee for two years. "We wanted to defer our asset to next year. The players we had on the board were not there at (No. 27), and we felt we had a great option with Philly to get a lottery-protected first next year We wanted someone who can fill a roster spot. We weren't sure somebody picked 27th would make the team." As for somebody picked No. 45, Riley said he likes Hamilton because he can "go into the pipeline with our other bigs and keep developing them." However, the Miami president didn't deny Hamilton, whom Riley said could develop into a player similar to former Heat center Michael Doleac, could spend next season overseas. Riley said 2010 second-round pick Jarvis Varnado, a big man who will play for Miami in the summer league, could make the team next year after having played overseas. Riley also wouldn't rule out center Eddy Curry being re-signed, but one wonders if Curry would even want to return after playing sparingly. Come Sunday, though, Riley is going to be working on better players. Free agency starts then, and the Heat will have a 3 million salary-cap exception to try to lure someone to Miami. "We have five or six guys earmarked," Riley said. "We go into free agency with an open mind. We're encouraged we can talk to some players that may be interested in taking a little bit less. There's a lot of room out there but not many teams that have a chance of winning a title." Riley said it "depends on the name" as to what position the Heat might be eying the most. "If we can add a shooter, that would help us," Riley said. "If we can add a real big, we might try to go in that direction. If there's a three-point shooter who is long and can defend, we might go in that direction. We want to find as much space on the floor with Chris (Bosh) and Dwyane (Wade) and LeBron (James) to operate." Riley said he will consult with his top players regarding possible free agents. There has been speculation the Heat will try to sign free-agent guard Ray Allen, and it doesn't look as if any argument would come from James about Allen. "While watching the draft my son Bryce ask(ed), Is Ray Allen gonna play for the Heat'. I said I don't know, I hope so,"' James tweeted Thursday night. Miami also is expected to look at free-agent point guard Andre Miller, another player who would have to take a significant salary cut if he were to join the Heat. Even though the more punitive luxury tax arrives in 2013-14, Riley said that won't necessarily scare off the Heat when it comes to adding contracts. "If you give (owner Micky Arison) the right name and that right name can lead the team to the promised land, in the past he has always said yes," Riley said. Arison got his second Heat title this season, his first having come in 2006. It marked the eighth overall championship for Riley, who has won five as a head coach, one as an assistant, one as a player and now one as team president. "I'm confident this team is ready to compete at a very high level every year," Riley said. "I felt great about the team last year. I felt great about the team this year. We've got a compelling team and it excites me to try to make it better. As long as you can improve this team, that's what it's about. The championship felt great. Everybody celebrated to the limits. I'm over it. We're over it. Coach (Erik Spoelstra) is going to be over it. We've already talked about getting ready (for next season)." Whether Miller's health will allow him to play next season remains to be seen. But at least, with any amnesty threat off the table, it could come down to it being his choice. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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