Veteran big man Juwan Howard isn't on the Heat's roster, but is traveling with the team in an "advisory role," according to Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Goodman believes he's being kept around as an insurance policy in case Miami wants to let go of one of its training camp invitees. The Heat have a full complement of 20 players in camp, so they don't have room to add Howard as a player without waiving someone.
Howard and agent David Falk have maintained optimism in recent weeks that the 39-year-old will eventually return in a playing capacity to the Heat, with whom he's spent the last two seasons. Falk said his client strongly prefers the Heat over other NBA clubs and isn't considering retirement. The Heat reportedly wasn't ruling out the possibility of signing him as of last month, and Dwyane Wade has expressed his support for bringing Howard back on board. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel spotted Howard wearing Heat warmup gear as he joined the team today in Atlanta in advance of a preseason game against the Hawks (Twitter link), and Goodman tweets that Howard will accompany the team on its upcoming trip to China as well.
Howard has appeared in 85 regular season games for the Heat the last two seasons, averaging 2.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per contest. His last significant playing time came for the Blazers in 2009/10, when he saw 22.4 MPG and started 27 games. The Heat only have 13 players with guaranteed contracts, so Howard could wind up getting the nod over Robert Dozier, Mickell Gladness, Josh Harrellson or Jarvis Varnado, the big men in camp on non-guaranteed deals. If the Heat do sign Howard, it would almost certainly be for the minimum salary.