Home » Heat relief: Miami give Patty Mills an NBA lifeline

Heat relief: Miami give Patty Mills an NBA lifeline

He joined Atlanta after trades from Brooklyn to Houston, Oklahoma City and then to the Hawks through a dramatic off-season.

The spot-up shooter, described as a “flat-out legend” by NBA great and former teammate Kevin Durant, has played 15 seasons in the NBA for a total of 879 career games, including a decade with the San Antonio Spurs where he won a championship in 2014, and continues to have a close relationship with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Mills had found it extremely difficult to win court time behind the Hawks’ dynamic backcourt of Dejounte Murray and All-Star Trae Young.

What happens next

The best outcome for Mills had been to join a team in play-off contention, if not a championship contender, for his outside shooting remains a threat. Tyler Herro and Josh Richardson are the Heat’s starting guards, although both are currently injured, with Mills joining Terry Rozier, who Miami recently traded Kyle Lowry and a lottery-protected first-round pick for, and Delon Wright, who the Heat added on the buyout market, as bench depth in the guard rotation. The Heat have cut Dru Smith, who tore his ACL in November, to free up a roster spot.

Face of the franchise: Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler will now have Patty Mills as a teammate.Credit: AP

What is imperative is that the Canberra native is given court time, as Olympic selection is just around the corner. He is a hard worker, in games and at practice, so will fulfil Miami’s mantra of “Heat culture”, which began under legendary coach and now team president Pat Riley and extends through Spoelstra.

Mills may only be with the Heat until the end of the season, so expect NBL clubs to come knocking ahead of the 2024-25 season.

What does it mean for Mills and the Olympics?

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It’s great news, for Mills may have had to look to Europe – as former Boomers’ teammate Chris Anstey had suggested – for games if this NBA deal had not been brokered.

However, there is intrigue in the behind-the-scenes machinations at play with the Boomers, for Mills and fellow Boomers’ legend Joe Ingles were told by Goorjian in robust discussions in December that their roles will change in Paris. Key players for more than a decade, including in the breakthrough bronze medal in Tokyo, both men are likely now to need to adjust to coming off the bench, for the young, athletic talent the squad now has means change is needed. That was clear in last year’s underwhelming World Cup.

Oklahoma City Thunder playmaker Josh Giddey is now the Boomers’ team leader, while fellow guards Dante Exum, the Dallas Maverick and best Boomer at the World Cup, Josh Green, also with the Mavericks, and Dyson Daniels, the injured but emerging New Orleans Pelican, need more court time. Then there’s defensive stopper Matisse Thybulle, now with Portland, Melbourne United pair Chris Goulding and Matthew Dellavedova who remain in Paris contention through strong NBL campaigns, while the Ben Simmons quandary remains unresolved.

Mills and Ingles, the latter playing well as a bench connector with Orlando, must be prepared to adjust to change, and the culture handover required of this. Goorjian says they understand his vision.

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