Memphis has a wound. It is a deep wound too. It will likely leave a scar even if it heals properly.
Memphis has had wounds before. When Pau Gasol was traded there were people that felt the team would never be the same. That Memphis and minor league basketball would always be associated together. When Allen Iverson was kicked off the team, people felt the Grizzlies would never be able to compete again in the league. When Rudy Gay was traded, the team was supposedly giving up on winning a championship.
All of these wounds healed. Some quicker than others but they all healed just the same.
When Lionel Hollins didn’t have his contract renewed, many fans felt injured again. The deep attachment with the team that developed during the Hollins era will leave a noticeable scar this season and likely for seasons to come. However, there is a Band-Aid the team can put on this wound.
Mike Miller is available. The Heat used the amnesty provision on Mike after a sensational playoff series, but difficult regular season for the Heat. This means Miller will be paid his full salary by the Heat this season, minus any amount paid by another team. It is doubtful Miller won’t clear waivers, so in a very short time Mike Miller will be a free agent.
Mike Miller still owns a house just outside of Memphis. His family has been seen around Memphis after he was traded to Minnesota and even when he played for the Heat. In other words, Miller has strong ties to this community.
Also, Tennessee doesn’t have a state income tax so a dollar earned in Tennessee is worth more than a dollar earned in California, New York or even Oklahoma which has a 5.25% top state income tax rate.
Miller has stated he wants to play for a team that will compete for a title. Who doesn’t? But there aren’t a lot of teams that are in a position to compete for a title this coming season — and one of the prime contenders just released him.
Memphis is in position to compete and would be in a far better position to contend with a legitimate sharp shooter on the perimeter to draw teams out of their compressed defenses trying to contain Randolph and Gasol. Mike was a good friend of Marc’s older brother when he played here in Memphis as well.
Now, Miller isn’t likely going to cure all the worries of Memphis fans. His back concerns are legitimate. There are good reasons he played as little as he did last season in Miami, but bringing home a former fan favorite could deflect some of the negativity created by the Hollins situation.
I don’t believe any fan of the Memphis Grizzlies could look at a summer series of moves that brought in a promising young player in Jamaal Franklin, a young veteran center in Kosta Koufos, and a former fan favorite in Mike Miller and proclaim the front office failed in their attempt to improve the team despite Hollins not being retained.
Miller might just be the Band-aid the team needs to cover the pain.