Memphis Grizzlies close to signing Darius Miles

In a move that could damage the salary-cap flexibility of the Portland Trail Blazers, Darius Miles is close to signing a minimum-salary contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, two NBA sources said Friday.

Miles recently worked out for the Los Angeles Clippers, who drafted him third overall in 2000, but team officials said they would prefer to wait until January to decide whether to sign him. The Grizzlies had room for another player after trading guard Javaris Crittenton to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and appear to have settled on Miles after looking at D-League options. One source said only a last-minute veto by Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley could keep the team from signing Miles.

Miles has not played in an NBA game since April 15, 2006, because of a serious injury to his right knee. The Trail Blazers waived Miles at the end of last season and an independent doctor declared the injury career-ending. The retirement ruling allows the Blazers to remove the $18 million he’s owed over two seasons off their salary cap, allowing them to become major players in the free-agent market.

Miles will get paid regardless of whether he again plays in the NBA, but if he appears in 10 games this season his salary goes back on the Blazers’ cap. Complicating matters, Miles will be suspended for the first 10 games he spends on a team’s active roster because he violated the league’s anti-drug policy by testing positive for a banned weight-loss stimulant.

Miles, 27, was drafted out of high school by the Clippers, who traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers after two seasons. In 412 career NBA games, he’s averaged 10.7 points and 5.2 rebounds. Hoping to revive his once-promising career, he spent training camp with the Boston Celtics but was waived before the start of the season.

~ by Travis on December 13, 2008.

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