Heat sign Juwan Howard

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The Miami Heat signed 40 year-old forward Juwan Howard to a 10-day contract.

After playing the past two years with the Heat, Howard had remained unsigned until Saturday. He has stayed in shape and has been working out throughout the season.

The Heat created a roster spot at the trade deadline, sending Dexter Pittman to the Memphis Grizzlies for a trade exception.

Howard had been a respected leader on the Heat and was popular with teammates, coaches and management. He played sparingly in three Miami playoff victories on the way to his first championship ring in 2012.

Howard's greater role for the Heat came off the floor, where he was a trusted steward in the locker room. During the Heat's conference semifinal series victory over Indiana, Howard played the part of enforcer with Indiana Pacers forward Lance Stephenson. After Stephenson made the choke sign at LeBron James in a game, Howard later confronted him.

In 1,201 career games over 18 seasons, Howard has averaged 13.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. Howard was drafted fifth overall by Washington in 1994 and was a member of Michigan's Fab 5 with Chris Webber and Jalen Rose.

Miami has won 13 consecutive games, and its 42-14 record is the best in the Eastern Conference.

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