MIAMI -- Juwan Howard joined the Miami Heat yesterday, 14 years after his first multimillion-dollar move to the club was revoked because it pushed the club over salary cap limits.
Team USA to the World Basketball Championships</b>: Chauncey Billups laughs during a US national basketball team practice session in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 20. -
Team USA to the World Basketball Championships: Chauncey Billups laughs during a US national basketball team practice session in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 20. -- Reuters
"We feel that Juwan’s ability to play both the four and five spot will be complementary to what we have put together," said Heat president Pat Riley, who has already pulled off the coup of the summer by signing free-agent stars Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Since putting together the trio, Riley has patiently been building their supporting cast.
In 37-year-old Howard, Riley adds a player he thought he had landed back in 1996, when Howard signed a seven-year, $100-million deal with the club.
The league voided that deal, and this time around the Heat get Howard for the league mandated veteran’s minimum salary.
Howard agreed to the deal last week, and said he is delighted to get to Miami at last.
"I’m looking forward to working hard this upcoming season and contributing in any way I can," Howard said in a statement distributed by the Heat.
In 1996 Riley intended Howard to play alongside Alonzo Mourning, who received a $112-million deal from Miami in that same off-season.
Now Howard will play alongside Wade, James and Bosh, and Mourning is a club executive.
"It’s kind of ironic," Wade said. "It’s sweet. I’m happy for him... We’re getting a lot of experience. It’s about the right fit and I think he can have that fit."
Howard will be playing for his ninth NBA team in his 17th NBA season.
He played in 73 games for Portland last season and averaged 6.0 points.
Among active players, he ranks fourth in games (1,116), 15th in points (15,957) and 10th in rebounds (7,251).
Meanwhile, New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire won’t play for the United States in next month’s basketball world championships because of insurance difficulties over his surgically repaired left knee.
The New York Knicks forward was expected to be one of the USA’s key players at the world championships in Turkey, but the team learned of the change of plans yesterday.
The Knicks asked Stoudemire to pull out on Monday. He had said he was looking forward to playing for his country.
"There’s too big a risk out there," Knicks president Donnie Walsh said.
Stoudemire has had micro-fracture knee surgery among his injuries. That was one of the reasons Phoenix declined to offer him an NBA maximum length contract.
He left the Suns as a free agent and the Knicks then gave him a five-year contract worth almost $100 million.
Without proper insurance, NBA teams can bar their players from taking part in summer events.
The development is a blow for the US team, which will be without all of the players who earned Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008. -