I may be beating a dead horse here, but here is what it would have cost to keep Brad this year alone:

$7M in salary

guestimation of 7.5M in tax if the added salary only put us above the 61.1% of BRI tax threshold if triggered.

another guestimation but an additional 7.5M if the added salary put us above the 65% cliff threshold if triggered.

1.55M in the difference in salary of Pollard and Mercer.

Anthony Johnson, Kenny Anderson, or someone else not having a roster spot.

I loved Antonio Davis when he was here, but am glad as all can be that we are not the ones paying the end of that mess. I see years 6 and 7 being the same on Brad's deal.
And Rick Carlisle. Don't forget Rick Carlisle. (I did that for Peck. )

Good to see you here, Charc. What took you so long?
But all of this is taking our eyes off the ball... Bender's extension especially.

The money spent on 3 extensions is where I'd be looking. Artest was understandable (assuming you thought he could get his head on straight)... Foster's and Bender's were questionable. Bender is a bust anyway. The quicker this franchise figures that out the better off it will be.

Essentially, it has worked that Bender has cost TWO All-Star centers. All this other stuff is smoke and mirrors and hiding the crux of the matter. We sure haven't gotten much back from that deal to validate those.

IF the team really wanted to keep BMiller then signing all 3 of those extensions with those numbers was a BAD move and worked out exactly how anyone paying attention would imagine that it would.

Money may yet be the ultimate factor but it probably has more to do with not wrapping too much of the cap up in a few players and BMiller was deemed the expendable player back when the extensions were signed. IOW, Brad was in a no win situation here.