Heat's Mike Miller dealing with rumors
MIAMI -- With his name linked to rumored deals on the eve of the NBA's trade deadline, Miami Heat guard Mike Miller said he received an assurance from team president Pat Riley before Wednesday's team practice.
But Miller backtracked some when asked what Riley actually assured.
"He just told me there are rumors out there," Miller said. "It's a business. Coach Riley assured me. We'll see what happens. I expect to be here. Unless they can get Dwight Howard or somebody like that."
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Miller was joking about being dealt for the Orlando Magic center. But considering the major deals made in the past 48 hours, anything is possible as Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline looms.
The Heat aren't expected to make any significant roster moves by the deadline, but the team will be without Miller for Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bulls.
Miller is still dealing with the effects of an ear infection and was not cleared to travel with the Heat on Wednesday afternoon's flight to Chicago. He has missed Miami's last two games, including Tuesday's home victory against the Sacramento Kings. Miller also missed last Wednesday's game at Toronto after he was tested for concussion symptoms last week.
Amid those health concerns and recent struggles on the court, Miller's name has come up in trade discussions around the league. According to multiple league sources, the Heat has been in contact with as many as six teams regarding Miller's availability just one season into his five-year, $29 million contract.
The Heat (42-15) have the second-most victories in the league behind the San Antonio Spurs but have struggled against elite-level competition. Miami is a combined 1-6 against Boston, Chicago, Dallas and the Lakers this season.
The Heat could also use upgrades at point guard and center, areas where coach Erik Spoelstra has juggled his starters around Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in search of consistent production.
Spoelstra said he was planning as if his roster would remain intact.
"I don't address it with the players," Spoelstra said of trade speculation. "We feel we have enough. These guys are professional enough to know that this time of year the rumors will be rampant. Once the date gets past, you can get focused on the team that you have. I don't have a worry with it."
Spoelstra also said he speaks with Riley almost daily about roster possibilities. Riley attended Wednesday's practice but has repeatedly declined interviews.
Miller said hearing some level of assurance from Riley was good enough. He expects to play when the Heat returns for Friday's game against Washington.
"It's 11 years [in the league] now for me, and probably seven of them, I've been traded," Miller said. "It's not going to stop the way I prepare. I'm confident, but I'm also not naive to the fact that if [a trade] can help this team ... If they have a chance to improve their team, that's the way it is."
Miller turned down more lucrative offers to sign with the Heat last summer, but it's been a rough transition. He missed the first two months of the season after having surgery on his thumb in October. After shooting a career-high 50 percent from 3-point range last season in Washington, Miller has struggled with his shot in Miami.
In 22 games, Miller is shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from 3-point range -- below his career averages of 46.3 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from 3-point range.
But he believes he's still a good fit for the Heat, despite the recent trade speculation.
"I feel pretty good about it," Miller said of remaining with the Heat. "Its been an awkward year for me. I haven't caught many breaks except for a broken thumb."
Michael Wallace covers the NBA for ESPN.com.
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