Ronny Turiaf becomes unrestricted free agent

MIAMI, FL - MAY 15: Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers posts up Ronny Turiaf #21 of the Miami Heat during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AmericanAirlines Arena on May 15, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Soon after the 2011-12 season began, Pat Riley looked for players to bolster his front-line. He tried to sign Kenyon Martin and Joel Przybilla but eventually was able to convince Ronny Turiaf to join the team in mid-season. Despite Turiaf's exuberant displays of enthusiasm from the bench, this marriage will likely only last for a few months. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that Turiaf will decline his player option for $1.2 million, electing to become an unrestricted free agent.

Despite the fact that Riley repeatedly looked to sign a power forward/center, Turiaf ended up without much of a role on the Heat. As soon as Chris Bosh moved to the center position near the end of the regular season, Turiaf's minutes dropped significantly. Turiaf became Miami's starting center when Bosh injured his abdominal muscle in the second round, but Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem received the lion's share of minutes. Turiaf's decision is somewhat surprising, if only because it appears unlikely that he will receive more money elsewhere.

The Heat already have Bosh, Haslem and Anthony under contract for next season. Riley also said that the Heat will guarantee Dexter Pittman's contract for next season, most likely ensuring that he'll stay on the team for another year. Miami appears to have interest in signing Ray Allen, but no one can deny that the Heat's power rotation leaves a lot to be desired once one gets past Bosh. It will be interesting to see who the Heat target in free agency.

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