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Can Portland Trailblazers Blackmail Other NBA Teams Over Darius Miles?

Darius Miles

Darius Miles

In what is one of the most bizarre stories I have heard coming out the NBA or all of professional sports in a long time is how the Portland Trailblazers threatened to sue all of the other NBA teams if they sign Darius Miles to a contract.  Portland team president Larry Miller sent an e-mail to the 29 other NBA teams telling them not to sign Miles because it would hurt Portland financially.  The Blazers will be responsible for paying Miles’ remaining $18 Million left on his contract if he plays in two more games this season.  That money paid would count against the salary cap for Portland and force them to have to pay luxury tax.

Miles while a member of the Portland Trailblazers suffered what was thought to be a career ending knee injury, prompting him to seek the expertise of a personal injury lawyer.  He underwent microfracture surgery in 2006 and was released by the Blazers in April 2008 after not playing in any games the previous two years.  Miles was signed by the Boston Celtics this season and played in six pre-season games and was released.  He then signed with the Memphis Grizzlies where he played in two regular season games and then was released before his contract became guaranteed.  According to the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement Miles will be due $18 million if he plays in 10 games this season.  Therefore he is only two games away from having Portland fork over the money.

Portland claims it will sue if they find out that other teams signed Miles for the sole purpose of hurting Portland financially.  However I have no idea of how they will be able to prove other teams motivations unless it is clearly shown that Miles can no longer play at the NBA level.  The fact that he has played with two NBA teams already this season shows that he has what it takes and I predict somebody will give him a shot.  After all injuries always happen and if he is the best available option, somebody is going to pull the trigger.

Additionally the NBA players association has filed a grievance against the Blazers in response to Millers threatening e-mail.  Miles should be allowed to continue his NBA career and earn NBA money while he can.  The fact that somebody is out there trying to sabotage his chances is unfortunate and not fair to Miles.  There is no collusion in the NBA and if a team wishes to sign Miles they have that right.  If I am the Lakers,  Nuggets, Jazz, or Thunder (division rivals of the Blazers) why not sign Miles to a 10 day contract and see what happens.  Worst case scenario they get to hurt a division rival financially, cut Miles after a few days., and Miles gets paid.  Good luck to the Blazers in trying to prove the other teams intentions for signing Miles.

UPDATE – The Memphis Grizzlies have signed Miles to a 10 day contract on 1/10/09, therefore if he plays in two games the Blazers will be on the hook for the $18 million.  If he is waived after a few days, the Blazers just might have a case.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

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