Heat sign Juwan Howard to 10-day contract

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Juwan Howard is back with the Heat. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)

Juwan Howard is back with the Heat. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

The Heat announced Sunday the signing of veteran forward Juwan Howard to a 10-day contract.

"Juwan is a key part of the championship culture here in Miami," Heat President Pat Riley said. "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."

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Howard has "been around the team ... in an undefined management role" this season.

Howard, 40, is now the third-oldest player in the NBA behind Knicks forward Kurt Thomas and Clippers forward Grant Hill. He played spot minutes for the Heat in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, winning the first title of his 18-year career in 2012. The highlight of his 2011-12 season came when he confronted Pacers guard Lance Stephenson for flashing the "choke" sign at LeBron James during the Eastern Conference semifinals. See video below.

The Heat can sign Howard to two 10-day contracts before deciding whether or not to sign him for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

Howard's signing fills the 15th and final roster spot for Miami, a spot that was created when the Heat traded center Dexter Pittman to the Grizzlies for the rights to Ricky Sanchez and a trade exception. He joins a Heat big man corps that already includes Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony and Chris Andersen, with coach Erik Spoelstra also relying on Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis in smaller line-ups.

Video via RLPoloProdigy