The good news for Portland strippers: Darius Miles still has $18 million coming to him.
The good news for most Portland hoops fans: he won’t be making it while playing for the Blazers.
In fact, the team is hoping that he never sees the NBA again (though I’m fairly certain they will take the cap hit with a smile if he does). From Jason Quick of the Oregonian:
The release of Miles comes after an independent doctor appointed by the NBA and the Players Association examined Miles and found his injuries to qualify as “career-ending.” That does not mean Miles, 26, can no longer play in the NBA, but it activated a provision in the league’s collective bargaining agreement that allows the Blazers to receive huge financial relief, both immediate and long term….
The move also positions the Blazers to become one of the major players in the 2010 free agent market. Now that Miles’ $9 million salary for the next two seasons is off the books, the Blazers will have between $25 million and $33 million to lure free agents in 2010, placing them among teams with the most cap flexibility that summer.
Miles has the opportunity to sign with another NBA team, although it is unclear if he still has the desire to play. Miles, who hasn’t been around the Blazers in more than a month, was unavailable for comment and his agent, Jeff Wechsler, did not return phone messages. If Miles does sign with another team and plays in 10 games in either of the next two seasons, his salary goes back on the Blazers’ books.
While I agree with Ezra Caraeff of the Portland Mercury that cultural tone-deafness was a gigantic part of “Jail Blazers” hysteria (and that the city wouldn’t blink twice at a bad-behaving Larry O’Brien winner), it’s still pretty striking to take in this final sentence.
His release gives the Blazers a roster without any player who has been suspended or disciplined by the team or the NBA, the first time that has been the case in at least 15 years.