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1 more year? Pacers keep door open
Walsh will pay Reggie next season even if he doesn't play
By Mark Montieth
Reggie Miller has said his retirement is "100 percent" final, but the Pacers CEO said he's "not con
Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh holds out hope Reggie Miller will play again -- and he'll pay Miller $6.1 million for the final season of his contract even if he doesn't.
"I'm not convinced he's not going to play again," Walsh said Friday. "I'm going to check back with him. I'm waiting for him to miss it. I'll give him two weeks or a month and see how he feels."
Miller will receive the salary called for in the three-year contract he signed two summers ago. The $6.1 million will count in the calculation of the Pacers' payroll but shouldn't affect their ability to sign a free agent because they will be over the salary cap anyway.
Walsh said Miller won't be included on the team's 15-man roster unless he returns to play.
Miller, who scored 27 points Thursday as the Pacers were eliminated from the playoffs by Detroit at Conseco Fieldhouse, said after the game that his retirement is "absolutely, positively, 100 percent" final.
He attended a brief team meeting Friday morning and then met with privately with Walsh. Walsh said Miller gave no indication that he might rethink his retirement.
Walsh said the team would have "a big-time celebration" to retire Miller's No. 31 jersey next season if he does not return. The Pacers had a retirement ceremony for Miller on April 20 after their final regular-season basketball game against Chicago. Owners Herb and Mel Simon presented a Bentley automobile to Miller.
Miller said after Thursday's final playoff game against Detroit that he plans to rest for about a month and then begin working out again -- but not in preparation for another season.
"You can't just stop," he said. "I'm still going to run the canyons and the beaches (near his home in Malibu, Calif.,), but I'll do it for myself. I won't have training camp to lure me."
Miller, who turns 40 in August, said earlier he wouldn't be drawn back by the hope of winning a championship, even if the Pacers made roster moves that could improve that possibility.
"I had 18 years to try," he said. "I didn't do it. It's their turn. If they can do it, God bless them."
Miller already has begun work on a new career, forming a film company, Boom Baby Productions. He has a project in the works called "Beautiful Ohio," starring Laura Dern. Oscar-winning actor Hillary Swank and her husband, Chad Lowe, are co-producing the film, and Lowe will direct.
Miller said he hoped to become involved in various aspects of film production, including casting and editing, but has no desire to act.
He also hopes to work as a broadcaster. He said he was not aware of rumors that he will serve as Dan Patrick's co-host on ESPN's national radio show. His ideal position in television, he said, would be as a studio host, similar to TNT's Charles Barkley.
"He doesn't talk about stats, he just rips on the players, which I'd love to do, too," Miller said with a smile. "I could talk trash about all of them, and the commissioner (David Stern), too, all at once."
Otherwise, Miller is looking forward to a more private life. He said he would keep his home in Geist and his corner suite in Conseco Fieldhouse but doesn't plan to be a frequent presence.
"I'm sure he'll show up unexpectedly from time to time," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "But then again, knowing him, he's going to keep his distance and be respectful of the fact it's a new situation without him and the fact he's really not a member of the team."
Unless, of course . . .
Call Star reporter Mark Montieth at (317) 444-6406.