40-year-old Juwan Howard has joined the Miami Heat on a 10-day contract. The NBA veteran used to be quite the force as one of the best power forwards in the game, but age and the constant beating of the NBA season have since taken their toll.
Howard entered the league during the 1994-95 season after leaving Michigan as part of the “Fab Five” team that made it to the NCAA championships. Howard routinely averaged more than 17 points and seven rebounds from 1994 to 2004.
Howard has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Miami heat, appearing in 57 games during the 2010-2011 season and 28 games last season. Juwan Howard joins the Heat this year on sort of a trail basis thanks to his short term contract.
A 10-day contract is a unique situation in the NBA. A team can sign free-agents to these contracts if they don’t feel as if they will need the player for the remainder of the season, or if they want to give that player a sort of short tryout to see if they can stick.
Most of the time, these players don’t stick. Others times they are Jeremy Lin and they are able to parlay their tryout into a huge contract and plenty of notoriety. It is unlikely that Howard will all of the sudden start scoring 28 points in a game, but he could show that he deserves a roster spot for the rest of the season.
The New York Daily News reports that the Miami Heat players might have pushed for this particular signing. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade have repeatedly gushed about Howard’s leadership qualities in the locker room.
Those qualities could pay big dividends as the team moves into their playoff run. Sports Illustrated pointed out that Heat team president Pat Riley talked about Howard’s veteran presence when it comes to forging a playoff atmosphere saying:
“Juwan is a key part of the championship culture here in Miami. He is essential to this team and can still play this game at a high level in some of our biggest games yet to come. He has a unique veteran savvy and will provide leadership and experience to our team.”
SI also adds that Juward Howard joins the Heat as a player for the first time this season, but he’s been around the team in a management role for most of the year.