Mike Miller eyes three or four more NBA seasons
SIOUX FALLS -- After playing in all 82 regular games this season for the first time since his rookie year, Mike Miller says he is rejuvenated and ready to continue his career in the NBA.
"The way I feel and the way the NBA has changed a little bit, I can see myself playing three or four more years," Miller said. "That's my goal for sure."
The Mitchell native and former Kernel basketball star has opted for free agency this offseason, but said he hopes to land a long-term deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, the team he played for in 2013-14.
Miller said his perspective has changed from his time with the Miami Heat, winning back-to-back NBA titles, to his role with the Grizzlies and now free agency after 14 seasons with five different teams in the league.
"You learn so much through your successes and your failures," Miller said. "For me, I hadn't had that much team success in the league until I got to Miami. To be able to move that to a different team, and to be able to help those guys, is a big advantage."
Miller returned to South Dakota Saturday to take part in the basketball portion of Hyvee/Sanford Legends Sports Clinics at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. The free clinics also brought in Mount Vernon native and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway and former Denver Bronco running back Terrell Davis for a football camp Friday in Sioux Falls. Former NBA player Christian Laettner also attended the basketball clinic with Miller Saturday. Other celebrities at Legends this year included Hall of Fame baseball players Dave Winfield and Olympic triathlete Hunter Kemper.
Miller said he is now the "old face" of basketball in South Dakota for the kids at the clinic, but he hoped to be able to inspire their love of the game.
"It's more of a life thing than a basketball thing," Miller said. "If this is something you truly love and want to be a part of, then dedicate yourself."
Though he said he was thankful to be invited back to Sioux Falls for the clinic, Miller added that he wishes he was, instead, still playing in the NBA playoffs. The Grizzlies were eliminated in the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7.
Miller played in all 82 games for Memphis in 2013-14 after saying he felt as healthy as he has been in a while following the 2012-13 NBA Finals. Miller averaged 7.1 points, 1.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in his role off the bench for the Grizzlies this past season. He also made 107 three-point shots, the most for Miller in season since 2007-08.
The former NBA Rookie of the Year said he opted out of his contract with Memphis and is currently a free agent, but did not talk about possible destinations. He said there are some interested suitors.
"Ultimately I would like to stay in Memphis long term," Miller said, but he will not be able to make an official decision until NBA free agency opens on July 1.
"I would like play for a championship again. It hurts a little bit right now, but it gives me motivation to get back there again."
Miller said it is difficult to sit and watch the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals after playing with the team for past three seasons in the championship round and winning two titles.
"It's tough obviously," Miller said Saturday of watching Miami struggle in the Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
Miller said he did not expect to be playing at the NBA level as long as he has, but it was always the goal.
"You always set high goals and for me it was to play this long, but it's tough," Miller said. "It's a grind out there. It's a long season. Fortunately for me I've kind of rejuvenated myself. Gotten healthy, which is the key to longevity in this league."
Miller keeping an eye on family success
Miller said, despite the grind of the NBA season, he was able to keep up with the accomplishments of his younger cousin Macy Miller during the Kernel's 2013-14 season.
Mike was able to watch some of the Mitchell girls basketball game on the Internet and kept an eye on Macy as she eclipsed Mike's scoring record with the Kernels.
"She is better than me no doubt," Mike said. "She is way more advanced than me at that level."