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Heat sign Juwan Howard

It took 14 years, 7 teams, 4 trades, 3 free agent signings, 2 repeat pit stops, 1 buyout and 1 outright release, but he has finally found his way back to Miami. Roster spot number twelve belongs to Juwan Howard.

The union brings full circle the most agonizing and controversial contract situation in the history of Miami’s basketball franchise. Howard officially joined the Heat on Tuesday, signing a one-year minimum salary contract that will pay him $1,352,181. David Stern won’t raise any red flags this time around.

Fourteen years ago, when the Heat signed and subsequently lost Howard due to alleged salary cap violations, an incensed Pat Riley declared:

The day that Juwan Howard signed a contract with the Washington Bullets is the day I hit a new low in my 30 years in the NBA. I knew that once he signed that contract, we would probably never get him back, even if we took it to the Supreme Court and won it, because he wanted to stay in Washington. It’s very disconcerting to invest $100 million in a player, to go that far, know that you’re going to fight to keep him, and they just run to another deal.

Apparently, all is forgiven. Today, a more even-tempered Riley commented:

We feel that Juwan’s ability to play both the four and five spot will be complementary to what we have put together. He also gives us incredible professionalism and is a perfect fit behind Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem.

Over his issues or not, this is still a questionable signing. The Heat needs to get youngster, faster and more athletic. Howard is old and slow and has a rapidly declining skill-set. He can’t rebound. He can’t defend. If he doesn’t knock down his line-drive jump shot, he serves no real purpose on the court.

Barring injury, he’s not going to see any time on it anyway. He’ll be the third option at best at both spots in the power rotation. 

These spots are always better reserved for youngsters with potential than past-their-prime veterans with nothing to contribute. The Heat has a vast scouting network. Now is the time to utilize it, to find some hidden gem hiding out in the D-League or overseas somewhere. Now is the time to rotate in multiple different options at the position until you find one that sticks. Now is the time to be thinking about the future – to create future contributors or future trade assets.

Howard is the past. With Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh headlining the roster, this team shouldn’t need any more veteran leadership. But if he is deemed to be a critical locker room component, he’s probably better relegated to the role of coach. It’s cheaper, and it doesn’t tie up a roster spot.

This is the type of signing you make at the end of the summer, after all other options have been exhausted. We’re just six days into the off-season. With the roster still very much in flux at various other positions of greater need, offering up a roster spot to an aging power forward is unnecessary.

Howard’s motives in signing with the Heat are clear. He is a player at the twilight of his career jumping aboard the Heat bandwagon, hoping to ride it to his first ever championship.

But one has to wonder what Pat Riley sees. There’s not too much to be excited about with this pickup.

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  1. Heat-Struck
    July 20th, 2010 at 19:22 | #1

    At this rate, Mike Miller is going to play 35 minutes off the bench… he’s going to be a steal in fantasy leagues for three pointers, good percentages and no turnovers.

  2. Brian T
    July 20th, 2010 at 19:58 | #2

    next up, J will and we’re ready to kick off the 2010-2011 season!

  3. CB
    July 20th, 2010 at 20:03 | #3

    I don’t like this move. I don’t buy into the “veteran leadership” argument that the HEAT have made with this pickup. There is no way that this roster wont be focused with guys like Lebron/Wade/Bosh keeping everyone focused. Id much rather have someone that can add real value (Hughes type). I thought the same thing with the Big Cat.

  4. vincent
    July 20th, 2010 at 21:08 | #4

    @CB
    What else is out there?

  5. K215215
    July 21st, 2010 at 11:21 | #5

    Bring back Chris Quinn!!

  6. Julian
    July 21st, 2010 at 15:55 | #6

    @CB
    Larry Hughes? Are you kidding????

  7. CB
    July 21st, 2010 at 18:23 | #7

    We signed 37 year old Juwon Howard, how is in exponential decline. He has virtually no playing value. He averaged 0.1 BPG as a power forward with mediocre (at best) rebound efficiency. We do not need veteran leadership on a team with 3 of the most respected players in the game in their prime leading the team in a rigid organization. Larry Hughes is 31 and can play defense and make open shots, when he doesnt have to create them. So no, I am not kidding. But while we are at it, I’d love to hear some of your suggestions as you sound like you know your bball my man.

    @Julian

  8. JT
    July 21st, 2010 at 20:27 | #8

    @CB
    You’re right that Howard’s value is declining, but he did prove to be a good bench player for Portland last year. Since he’s the 3rd PF, he won’t need to play too many minutes to make a contribution to the team. I don’t know about the value he brings to the locker room…..but I assume that Riley is just trying to avoid any drama queens (such as shaq).

  9. Julian
    July 22nd, 2010 at 13:24 | #9

    @CB
    We don’t NEED Hughes. We didn’t NEED Howard, but Riley signed him because he is a good locker room presence.

    We now have 13 players on our roster including the recent signing of Arroyo. I think we could use one of the final roster spots to add a young player like Da’Sean Butler (who showed great promise before his injury and should be ready to go for training camp) or Kenny Hasbrouck would also be great on this team as a D-Cook type player.

    In all honesty I think that we may be able to sign Matt Barnes and that will round out our second unit with Miller and Haslem. <—– GREAT 2nd unit.

    My final prediction: we sign Barnes and Butler and call it an offseason :)

  10. CB
    July 22nd, 2010 at 21:57 | #10

    @Julian

    I dont disagree with Barnes. Keep in mind, never said we “NEED” Hughes, i just think he would be much more useful than Howard. I think the whole locker room presence that teams tend to make is bizarre, especially in our situation. Reality is we will play a 8-9 man roster so none of these guys will get real time anyway, but Hughes could be a good 10-15 minute / game guy like the Andersons were for us back in 2006.

  11. Remote Heat fan
    July 22nd, 2010 at 21:59 | #11

    Barnes signed with the Lakers for 2 years.

  12. AJ
    July 23rd, 2010 at 15:17 | #12

    ALBERT, PLEASE START POSTING AGAIN!!

  13. Vincent
    July 23rd, 2010 at 21:56 | #13

    Hey guys Albert on Vaction so I’ll writing a article here…
    By the morning

  14. vincent
    July 24th, 2010 at 09:05 | #14

    The Bulter effect…….

    Rasual Bulter has yet to sign a contract ,but this what he has been post on his twitter account.

    Twamily getting close to making my decision about where I will play next season! I’ve been patient waiting for the rt opportunity to play

    Where I’m wanted and respected for what I do bring to the table and knowing I had a late start in my career so I haven’t peaked yet! So I

    Prayed on it and Gods will shall be done sometime today I will post where that will be!

    I can say to u twamily that I have been ok in my career not as good as I like and its time to go to another level! I feel as though I’m

    I bring a skill to the game that’s at a premium in our league today… and I feel as though I’ve proved myself a lil not get the respect lol

  15. vincent
    July 24th, 2010 at 09:05 | #15

    Which has always been the case for me so I always have a chip on my shoulder that has just grew bigger thank God for that fire

  16. lucas fb
    July 24th, 2010 at 17:15 | #16

    @vincent
    again. how many(the maximum of) players can play the game for a team???playoffs too???

    i thank u, if u could answer my questions too. not just the entire rest of the blog, and completely ignore everything i say.

  17. vincent
    July 24th, 2010 at 21:14 | #17

    12 players on active roster…..playoff include

  18. lucas fb
    July 26th, 2010 at 15:06 | #18

    @vincent
    thank u very much!!!

  19. uncle al
    July 26th, 2010 at 17:45 | #19

    we want more. we want more.

  20. CB
    July 26th, 2010 at 21:27 | #20

    hear hear. bert, i’m having major HEAT withdrawal. winderman can’t hold down the fort when ur out of pocket and forget the herald or wpb post

  21. Heat-Struck
    July 27th, 2010 at 13:20 | #21

    We need some Albert back!

    *chant* Al-Bert Al-Bert Al-Bert!

  22. Eric
    July 27th, 2010 at 14:30 | #22

    The “We Want Wade” chant has changed to “We Want Al”

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