10:55 am update:
The NBA just sent out an email implying that they would—more or less—fully support any team that wants Miles, despite Portland's legal threats. Also, the owner of the Cavs calls what the Blazers did "dead wrong."
Well, this didn't end well.
When the Portland Trail Blazers ran Darius Miles out on a rail last year (a move years in the making, and fueled by more than a few unfair media articles: "This is a player who will not recover from his injury. His career is over."), they took a gamble that no team would pick up the injured player, and his bloated salary would be erased from their books forever. With no Miles' salary haunting their payroll, the Blazers could crack open the change purse and woo a big name free agent to Portland. Everyone wins. Well, except Miles.
But a funny thing happened while the team was trying to erase Miles from the NBA landscape, he didn't want to go away. And he didn't.
The Boston Celtics—previously burned by the Blazers in the Sebastian Telfair trade—picked up Miles for a few pre-season games, then the Grizzlies kicked his tires for a couple games before letting him loose last week. Problem is, Miles only needed to play in a mere ten games this season, and he's at already at eight. Two more games for Miles and the Blazers are, well, fucked. They will be saddled with his salary and will have to pay back the insurance for his "career-ending injury." But who would want an oft-injured bench player with a closest full of skeletons? Any team that wants to sink the Blazers party ship, that's who. Division rivals, teams swindled by Portland's superstar GM Kevin Pritchard, or franchises jealous of Portland's bright future and attractive fans (and bloggers!). You can read the financial details here.
Well, things just got worse. The Blazers just sent a vaguely threatening letter to every NBA team, telling them to keep their paws off Miles, or else.
"The Portland Trail Blazers are aware that certain teams may be contemplating signing Darius Miles to a contract for the purpose of adversely impacting the Portland Trail Blazers Salary Cap and tax positions. Such conduct from a team would violate its fiduciary duty as an NBA joint venturer. In addition, persons or entities involved in such conduct may be individually liable to the Portland Trail Blazers for tortuously interfering with the Portland Trail Blazers' contract rights and perspective economic opportunities.
Please be aware that if a team engages in such conduct, the Portland Trail Blazers will take all necessary steps to safeguard its rights, including, without limitation, litigation.''
I've been in my fair share of brawls, and nothing says FIGHT like the term "fiduciary duty." The gloves are off. I guess.
Honestly, it's a little desperate, but I guess the situation warrants it. Trust me, there is nothing I want more than to see Miles drive his sweet whip into the horizon, but Portland did bring this upon themselves. They made their bed (with cash and cornrows), but never wanted to lay in it. Now let's see if another team makes them pay—and pay and pay and pay—for their mistakes.