Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that the Miami Heat agreed to sign 6-foot-10 power forward Ronny Turiaf for a pro-rated amount of the veteran’s minimum. Turiaf’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that the contract will include a player option for next season, unusual for buyout players.
This move makes sense on many levels. The recent absences of Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony have exposed the Heat’s lack of quality depth on the frontline. Dexter Pittman has struggled to avoid committing fouls, and Eddy Curry and Juwan Howard have given little production all season long. Turiaf isn’t the panacea to Miami’s problems, but plays with passion, can rebound the ball and will convert on the layups that Pittman and Curry have missed. Against the Phoenix Suns last night, Curry didn’t seem to have the same lift that he had with the Chicago Bulls early in his career. Moreover, Turiaf is one of the better passing big men in the NBA, and could throw nice passes to Wade or James when they make hard cuts to the basket.
In the playoffs, Erik Spoelstra will use Bosh, Anthony and Udonis Haslem as the primary players in the power forward/center rotation – just as he did in the last two rounds of the playoffs last year. But Juwan Howard averaged six minutes per game in the Finals, and Turiaf would give the Heat more production for a few minutes a night than Howard would. Although he is a natural power forward, the Heat will primarily use the burly player as a backup center.
The Heat now have 15 players under contract, the league limit for rosters. But Miami also tried to sign Derek Fisher, so Pat Riley could waive one player to sign another buyout player. Cavaliers center Ryan Hollins received a buyout yesterday, and he could interest the Heat.