Heat Sign Juwan Howard

The Heat have signed Juwan Howard to a 10-day contract, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier today that the Heat were considering bringing the 40-year-old big man back. The team is likely to keep him around for the rest of the season, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Twitter link).

Howard has hung around the Heat all season in an advisory role, and the team kept an open locker for him even though he wasn't invited to training camp as a player. Back in September, coach Erik Spoelstra mentioned the possibility of Howard joining the team during the season even though he wouldn't be on the camp roster. Howard's agent, David Falk, said in the offseason that his client wasn't ready to retire, but strongly preferred rejoining Miami over signing with another club. Howard spent the previous two seasons with the Heat, seeing 9.2 minutes per game over 85 regular season contests in 2010/11 and 2011/12. He's averaged 2.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in his limited time with Miami.

Howard is joining the team primarily for his off-court leadership skills, as Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida tweets. He slides into the roster spot vacated when the Heat traded Dexter Pittman to the Grizzlies. It seemed at the time of that swap that the Heat were creating flexibility to sign a player bought out from another team, but the lack of buyouts before last night's playoff-eligibility deadline might have prompted Miami to turn to Howard. 

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