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Juwan Howard hired as Heat assistant coach

(Issac Baldizon/Getty Images) Juwan Howard holds career averages of 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)

The Heat announced Saturday that veteran forward Juwan Howard will "make the transition" from player to assistant coach for the upcoming 2013-14 season.

The 40-year-old Howard, who played sparingly for Miami over the last two seasons, will focus on player development under coach Erik Spoelstra.

Although no official retirement announcement was made, the move would seem to bring Howard's distinguished 19-year career to a close.

Howard, the No. 5 pick in the 1994 draft, is best known as a member of the University of Michigan's famed "Fab Five" recruiting class. The quintet -- which also included Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson -- advanced to the NCAA title game in 1992 and 1993.

After spending three seasons at Michigan, Howard was drafted by the then-Washington Bullets, beginning a career that would include stops with the Mavericks, Nuggets, Magic, Rockets, Bobcats, Blazers and Heat. Selected as an All-Star in 1996, Howard won his first title with the Heat in 2012 at the age of 39 and he was on the roster, although he did not appear in any playoff games, when the Heat won again in 2013.

Long hailed for his professionalism and leadership presence in the locker room, Howard was the NBA's third-oldest player last season after he was signed by the Heat in March, trailing only Grant Hill and Kurt Thomas. Jason Kidd, the only other member of the 1994 draft class still in the league last season, announced his retirement in June. Howard averaged 3 points and 1.1 rebounds in seven appearance last season.

Howard holds career averages of 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He earned more than $151 million in salary during his playing career.

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