Miami Heat Lands the Prized Free Agent of 1996
Even after 14 long years, Pat Riley is a man who gets what
he wants. Why? Because he's Pat Frickin' Riley, that's why. The Miami Heat signed free
agent forward Juwan Howard yesterday to the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million.
Back in 1996, and with much fanfare, Howard signed a $101 million deal with the
Heat and held a news conference with Riles to announce the signing. But the deal was eventually voided by the NBA because of a salary-cap
technicality. At the time, Riley famously groused that the NBA had stuck a "17-foot
pole up my rear end" after the deal was canceled.
The Howard signing comes on the heels of the Heat signing
much for wondering whom Riley was going to get to play with Dwyane Wade, LeBron
James, and Chris Bosh. The 37-year-old Howard averaged 6.0 points, 2.4 assists,
and 4.6 rebounds for the Portland Trailblazers last season and joins a power
rotation that features Ilgauskas, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, and Jamaal
After Riley pulled off the biggest heist in NBA free-agency
history by signing James and Bosh to join Wade, he's begun to fill the rest of
the roster with solid complementary players. Big Z and Mike Miller will be very
strong contributors, and Haslem is ever the invaluable blue-collar warrior. Six-foot-11, 308-pound rookie Dexter Pittman should have an immediate impact, and
there has also been talk of the Heat signing Orlando free agent forward Matt Barnes.
So, was the signing of Juwan Howard all that necessary?
Probably not. But thanks to Riley landing the Three Kings, it's a luxury. The
Howard signing is likely less of a move to help the depth of the Heat rotation and probably more of a giant middle finger to the rest of the league. Prepare
your anus, NBA. Here comes the 17-foot pole, courtesy of Pat Riley.
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