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Birdman Flies South for Season: What Are the Miami Heat's Plans for Andersen?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | They say that birds fly south for the winter. Apparently it's true in the NBA as well.

Out of work since the spring - we really hadn't heard anything from him since what turned out to be a bogus child crimes internet investigation ran him out of Denver during the playoffs last May - Chris "Birdman" Andersen has landed, at least for now, on South Beach. The question is: how long until he flies the coop?

When the Miami Heat signed the 6-foot-10 Andersen Jan. 20, the idea was for him to help rebound. Miami has been outrebounded on an average of two boards per game this year. The Heat's 39.43 rebounds per game rank last in the NBA. Minus a true center - or at least a dominant big man on the blocks - the Birdman was supposed to bang with the big bodies. He is a career 5.2 rebounds per game power forward-center. His best season on the boards came in 2009-10 when he grabbed 6.4 rebounds per game.

Miami inked him to a 10-day contract when Andersen first landed in South Florida. Used sparingly since, the Heat signed him to a second 10-day deal this week - the last time the organization is permitted to do so as mandated by league rules.

So why not turn him loose? What do they have to lose?

Earlier this year, rumors circulated about the possibility of the Heat trading Chris Bosh, who averages 7.4 rebounds per game, which is second on the team behind LeBron James' 8.3. One proposed trade hinted a Bosh-for-Kevin-Love deal.

Maybe not a bad idea. But there's been nothing to suggest that was even a remote possibility. Instead, the Heat have elected to play Bird Games. Honestly, what is the point unless they plan on using him?

Through Thursday, Andersen had played in two games for a total of 13 minutes, grabbed seven rebounds and scored five points. For a team that ranks last in the NBA on the boards, it doesn't make sense to have Andersen resting in his nest. Yes, the guy is 34 years old, but why bring him in to keep him in hibernation?

Andersen, who's probably more known for his body paint - The Basketball Jones calculated 45 percent of his upper body is tatted up - than his board work, brought passion and energy to the Nuggets during his prime. The Heat could use some of that now to shore up their rebounding deficiencies.

Certainly, the Heat are still one of the NBA's better teams and not in jeopardy of missing out on another run at a title. But what the heck, why not let Andersen roam? If nothing else, he'll bring excitement and entertainment value. There's no sense nesting him on the sidelines.

After all, winter's only here for another six weeks or so. Who knows where the Birdman will flock after it starts Heating up.

Jim McCurdy is a freelance sports writer based in Miami. He has written for major publications around the country. Follow him on Twitter at @irishcurds.

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