A lot of people wrote me over the weekend regarding the reported Darius Miles tryout in
Obviously the first question to be addressed in this scenario is Darius’ fitness. If he can come back near pre-injury form it’s guaranteed somebody, somewhere is going to give him a shot. His retirement was for legitimate, confirmed medical reasons, however. That, combined with what we’ve heard about Darius’ work ethic from various teams he played for in his healthier days, makes me think a full recovery is about as likely as you finding Ben and me pole-dancing down at Vegas Summer League while Greg Oden and Von Wafer stuff 20’s down our G-strings. Nice thought…dreamy in certain circles…not gonna happen.
Since we mentioned full recovery we should also consider the opposite. If Miles can’t suit up--meaning he can’t run and jump and shoot at an NBA level--he can’t be signed. He has to play in order to make a difference on the court or on
This still leaves open the possibility of a middle ground, which people seem to fear: Miles being able to play just enough to see court time and some other GM signing him in order to bring his salary back on our books and eat away at cap space. It’s an interesting scenario, but in my opinion fairly far fetched for any number of reasons.
--The GM may sign players but the owner still signs the checks. The minimum salary for a player of Miles’ experience is just over a million bucks. Once upon a time there might have been an option to sign him to a couple of 10-day contracts and squeeze ten games out of him but that option left with Miles’ recent 10-game suspension for drug policy violations. The first ten games Darius is back will be spent at home serving the suspension. Then he has to play ten more to affect
--The GM doesn’t decide who plays either. A coach’s agenda is to win and keep his team in line, not mess around with somebody else’s cap space. In fact I guarantee you no coach in the league is thinking about his own cap space when the game is going on. You’re going to go tell your coach to play the Limping Lardbucket--or even take him off of the inactive list--when he’s had his 10th-14th guys on his team busting their rears for a scrap of playing time? What happens when the opposition dunks on Darius after the ball gets turned over in that last, token ten seconds you put him in? People don’t generally screw with games that way.
--What tangible benefit would this strategy get you? You’ve paid the million bucks, you’ve messed around with your team…for what?
--Hey, Big Chief Screws-With-Cap...what happens if the Blazers take a very likely route and trade Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract for a major player before the trade deadline this year instead of waiting to turn it into cap space next summer? Then they've made their major move without cap considerations coming into play at all and can still re-sign any and all guys they choose. At that point your benefit for signing Darius is zeeeero. Wah-wah-waaaaaaaah.
--As soon as the charade began it would make news in
--Last but not least, how often have you heard of this happening? How often does a guy come back from medical retirement at all, let alone in a semi-scandalous way? Some moves are unprecedented because nobody’s been enough of a visionary genius to see the possibilities before. Other times things just…don’t…work that way. This doesn’t seem like a visionary genius moment.
Could this middle-ground scenario happen? Anything could, I suppose. But I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. It would take a special brand of putz--a special cadre of putzes really, when you count owners, coaches, and staff--to make a move with this combination of ineffectiveness and publicity. I doubt you’ll see people lining up to take the shot.