Sources: Miller picks Griz over OKC, others
The Memphis Grizzlies have won the race to sign free-agent sharpshooter Mike Miller.
Miller confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that he agreed to a deal with Memphis. Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Miller has committed to sign a two-year deal with the Grizzlies after being pursued by other contenders such as Oklahoma City and Houston.
The Grizzlies have not yet formally announced the deal.
Kevin Durant was at the forefront of Oklahoma City's recruiting push, but sources said Miller ultimately couldn't resist the chance to return for a second stint in Memphis, where he has kept a home since playing for the Grizzlies from the 2002-03 to 2007-08 seasons.
One source close to the process told ESPN that Miller, more than anything, chose the Grizzlies because he feels they are closer to getting him back to the NBA Finals than any other team that pursued him, including Oklahoma City. The deal, sources said, likely will be for two years, with Miller possessing a player option entering Year 2.
Grizzlies mainstays Marc Gasol and Mike Conley also took an active role in recruiting Miller, with Conley jokingly telling ESPN.com on Tuesday at Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas that he offered Miller "golf on me for a year" if he would agree to join shooting-starved Memphis.
The Grizzlies actually acquired two sharpshooters Wednesday to help address their longstanding lack of perimeter shooting, claiming guard Josh Akognon off waivers after Dallas was forced to release him in a salary-cup crunch.
Houston was scheduled to meet with Miller on Friday before the 33-year-old decided Wednesday that he was ready to commit to Memphis. The Denver Nuggets also received strong consideration from Miller after his release last week by the Miami Heat via the league's amnesty provision.
Despite his role in helping Miami win back-to-back championships, Miller was amnestied in a financially motivated move that will save the Heat as much as $17 million on luxury-tax payments next season. They still owe him $12.8 million in salary over the next two seasons.
Miller averaged just 4.8 points while shooting 42 percent from 3-point range during the regular season for Miami. But he played a big role for the Heat in the Finals, shooting 61 percent from 3-point range and starting the last four games.
Shortly after rumblings began to circulate that the Cleveland Cavaliers were interested in claiming Miller off waivers, reports of the veteran forward needing back surgery or even considering retirement arose. Despite dealing with bulging disks in his back throughout the 2011-12 season, Miller wound up playing in 59 games this past season, his highest total since 2008-09.
Miller recently announced that he was feeling healthy and looking forward to next season, telling the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "I'm excited about the next spot. I'm re-energized. I really am. I'm just feeling healthy. I'm ready to play. I started to get back in [the gym] again last week and I can't wait to play again next year."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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