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Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) congratulates teammate Mike Miller after he hit a three point basket wearing one shoe during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami, Florida in this June 18, 2013, file photo. Miller recently joined former teammate LeBron James in signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Reuters photo)

Fans ecstatic about Miller's choice to rejoin LeBron

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sports Mitchell,South Dakota 57301 http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/071914.S.DR_.MIKEMILLER.JPG?itok=q3Q9bFOH
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Fans ecstatic about Miller's choice to rejoin LeBron
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Not two hours after Mike Miller was announced a Cleveland Cavalier on Tuesday, Justin Brown was looking for merchandise.

"I actually called the Cleveland fan store and said, 'I need a Mike Miller jersey ASAP,' " said Brown, a 2007 Mitchell High School graduate. "The lady on the other end goes, 'Who's Mike Miller?' "

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Brown said Miller and LeBron James jerseys were not yet available, but he's going to stay on top of the situation until he has them hanging in his closet.

Brown was elated Miller, a Mitchell native, is reunited with James after being on separate teams in the 2013-14 season. Miller, 34, signed a two-year deal worth $5.5 million with Cleveland with a player option on the second season.

Brown, an avid NBA fan, said he's been following social media for the last several weeks to see where the league's free agents, especially James and Miller, would end up.

"I've been updating Twitter since the day LeBron signed, saying 'Tell me Mike is coming, too,' " he said. "Some of the best teams in the league were coming after Mike because they know what he offers. He's a freak shooter. He's underestimated.

"When Kevin Durant and LeBron James are after you to get you on their team, it speaks for itself."

Miller, who turned down other offers including a three-year deal worth $12 million by the Denver Nuggets, said it wasn't an easy decision to make in an interview with ESPN Radio.

"Obviously, it's always tough passing up money, but at the end of the day, being able to team up with LeBron again and getting the chance to win a championship again was too much to pass up," said Miller, who is a career 41 percent three-point shooter.

Miller and James won two championships while teammates for three years with the Miami Heat. Miami won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 with Miller playing vital roles in both NBA Finals series.

Former Kernel coach Gary Munsen said the longtime friendship Miller has with James played a vital role in his decision to play in Ohio.

"A lot of people I talked to were surprised, but I thought he'd go to Cleveland," Munsen said. "They're pretty close and this will give Mike the best opportunity to win another title."

This wasn't the first time Miller chose the chance to become an NBA champion over a paycheck. When Miller was a free agent in 2010, he passed up higher-paying deals for a chance to join the Big 3 -- James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh -- in Miami.

This time around, when Miller asked himself why he began playing basketball, the answer as to which team he should join was a no brainer.

"It wasn't for the money, it was for the chance to win championships," he said. "At the end of the day, we'll see how it plays out."

Cleveland will be the sixth team Miller has played for in his 14-year career. With Memphis last season, he played in all 89 regular and postseason games for the first time since his rookie season. Miller averaged 7.1 points per game and shot 46 percent from the three-point range last season.

As for Brown and Munsen, who have both watched Miller and LeBron take the court together with the Heat, they already have plans to visit Cavalier nation.

"It's a good deal for me because I've never been to Cleveland," Munsen said.

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Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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