« Assessing Dolphins' battles; Zimmerman verdict reax; UM facing lawsuit; Heat, Canes, Marlins | Main | Buzz grows around S. Morris; Canes chatter; Heat roster, coaching news; Fins, Marlins »

Heat releases Mike Miller and free agent replacement options; Fis, Canes quick hits

Quick Tuesday update: The Heat has used the one-time amnesty clause to release Mike Miller, a move that will save the Heat's $17 million in luxury tax payments, and even more than following season. The Heat must still pay Miller $6.2 million next season and $6.4 million the following season. Miami is not permitted to re-sign him at any amount during those two seasons.

Heat president Pat Riley had said he prefered not to release Miller and would do so only if he received a mandate from owner Micky Arison. The move leaves Miami with 12 players with guaranteed contracts, plus Jarvis Varnado, who has a non-guaranteed deal.

Remaining available free agent guards or small forwards include Richard Hamilton, potentially Hedo Turkoglu (who is working out a buyout with Orlando that is not yet finalized), James White, Damien Wilkens, Sam Young, Dahntay Jones, Luke Babbitt, Roger Mason, Alan Anderson, Cartier Martin, Xavier Henry, Dequan Jones, Dominique Jones, Marquis Daniels and Kelenna Azubuike.

The Heat still faces a luxury tax payment of at least $16 million next summer, considerably more if Miami uses its $3.2 million midlevel exception.

Riley said the Heat tried unsuccessfully to trade Miller to a contender. The Heat kept saying it didn't plan to amnesty Miller because it wanted to preserve that trade value. But nobody bought, convinced he would be amnestied.

############################################################################################## 

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland returned to the office from vacation on Monday with a few unresolved issues. Most notably: signing first-round pick Dion Jordan and potentially working out a deal with free agent fullback Vonta Leach.

The Jordan deal has been delayed by the Dolphins’ insistence on offset language, which protects Miami if Jordan is a bust and is released during his rookie contract.

Last year, Ryan Tannehill accepted some offset language, but the Dolphins made concessions in other areas. He signed on the second day of camp but could not practice in pads until the fifth day, because of an NFL rule stating that players that sign during camp cannot practice in pads for three days.

Camp opens on Sunday.

The Dolphins and Leach’s agent plan to speak again this week, and Leach’s representative remains hopeful a deal can be struck. But Leach could return to Baltimore if the Dolphins offer only a one-year deal at the minimum.

### Remember Cecil Collins, the Dolphins' fifth-round draft in 1999 who ran for 414 yards in his first nine games, then was arrested for burglary? He could finally be released from prison this week after serving more than 13 years of a 15-year sentence.

Collins, drafted by Jimmy Johnson out of LSU, is serving time for breaking into the apartment of a woman he knew from his South Florida gym; he told police he merely wanted to watch her sleep. Collins got married while in prison six years ago.

### Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey on Monday apologized for wearing a “Free Hernandez” hat, a reference to Aaron Hernandez, who is charged with first-degree murder. His brother – Dolphins center Mike Pouncey – had not apologized as of Monday evening. Both played with Hernandez at UF.

Mike Pouncey is expected to talk to Joe Philbin, and likely will be strongly discouraged from wearing that hat again.

“I fully recognize the seriousness of the situation involving my former teammate and I regret that my actions appear to make light of that serious situation,” Maurkice said. “I apologize to anyone who was offended by my actions.”

### Quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Dolphins and then returned briefly in 2011, retired this week. He closed his NFL career with more TDs (30) than picks (29) but also will be remembered as the guy who – as a Dolphin – made himself available (for a fee) for parties and bar-mitzvahs.

### Free agent center Greg Oden, who met with the Heat earlier this year, plans to meet with Dallas, Sacramento and New Orleans in Las Vegas this week, according to ESPN. Oden, who has had five knee procedures, also is considering the Heat, Spurs and Celtics but does not plan to work out for teams until August. He reportedly wants a multiyear deal.

### Just in case you can't get enough Summer League basketball: The Heat, 1-1 in Las Vegas, next plays at 4 p.m. Tuesday against Minnesota (NBA TV). Forward James Ennis scored 11 points in Miami’s 75-71 loss to Atlanta late Sunday night, with Jarvis Varnado contributing eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks. The Heat has committed 30 turnovers --- several of the mindless variety --- in each of its first two games in Las Vegas.

### We told you previously that Alquadin Muhammad’s coach said he expects the defensive end to be eligible to play at UM this season (though it's not definite), and Devante Bond’s coach is unsure if he will qualify. The other UM player whose status is unresolved – Ufomba Kamalu – told canesport.com that he is finishing online classes and expects to enroll at UM in August. At 6-5 and 280 pounds, he said he prefers to play defensive end but also could factor in at tackle.

### Good to see former UM forward Julian Gamble sign with a pro team in France on Monday. He said his season begins in September, and his team will play only one game a week. Reggie Johnson and Trey McKinney Jones are still looking for work.

Gamble said he gave encouragement on Sunday to former Canes forward Kenny Kadji, who has been disappointed by his play for Cleveland in the first two games of the Las Vegas Summer League. Kadji had seven points and seven rebounds in his first game, five points and five boards in his second.

### FSU will play Massachusetts in the Orange Bowl basketball classic in Sunrise in December, with UF playing an undetermined opponent in the other game. UM again decided not to participate, instead opting for a Thanksgiving tournament in Anaheim.

 

Comments