Heat sign Juwan Howard for rest of the season

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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 Friday the signing of veteran forward Juwan Howard for the rest of the season.

Howard had previously been signed to a pair of 10-day contracts and has yet to appear in a game for Miami this season. The Heat are currently in the midst of a 24-game winning streak as they look to defend their 2012 title.

Fox Sports Florida reports coach Erik Spoelstra's reaction to the signing.

"We'll see what happens,'' Spoelstra said of when Howard, who didn't play during his first two 10-day contracts, might get into a game. "He has filled the role that we wanted and he does it as well as anybody. He brings incredible veteran leadership. It is tangible and it is real. It felt odd not having him around... He is in with two feet regardless of what his role is.'' about an hour ago

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.

"Juwan is a key part of the championship culture here in Miami," Heat president Pat Riley said, when Howard was first signed earlier this month. "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."

Howard 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 Spoelstra also relying on Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis in smaller line-ups.

Video via YouTube user RLPoloProdigy