Miami Heat: Is the Door Open for a Terrel Harris Return?
Team management decidedly sent little-used center Dexter Pittman, and a future second-round pick, to the Memphis Grizzlies for the draft rights to Puerto Rican big man Ricky Sanchez.
The chances are good Sanchez never steps foot in the NBA, however the move gave Miami an open roster spot. While many are calling for the team to acquire Greg Oden, it could be an opportunity that former Heat guard Terrel Harris can return.
Harris, a fan-favorite in Miami for his hard work and hustle, was waived by the team in early January. He played just seven games for Miami this season, averaging 1.4 points in 4.1 minutes per game.
Harris is currently a member of the NBA Development League affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers—putting up 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the team.
He is shooting 51 percent from the field, in addition to knocking down 46.7 percent of his three-point attempts. While he has been quiet the last few games for the Vipers, but he was explosive through January.
The 6'5" swingman had a 24-point, 11-rebound showing on January 17, as he went 9-of-17 from the field and 4-of-9 from three-point range. One week later Harris scored 22 points and snatched 15 rebounds—with six coming on the offensive glass.
For the entire month, Harris was the driving factor behind the Vipers' seven-game winning streak. He averaged 14.2 points and 7.9 rebounds, shooting 50 and 45.2 percent from the field and from deep respectively.
Who should take the Heat's last roster spot?
While the D-League competition is not as imposing as that of the NBA, it remains a sample of what Harris is capable of. He has always been great at rebounding for his size—famously securing 14 boards in a triple-overtime game against the Atlanta Hawks last season.
Miami has their backup center in Chris Andersen, thus the Heat's last roster slot should to go to Harris.
Adding another big man would be redundant for the team, as 11 of their 14 players are assigned to the frontcourt.
The backcourt consists of just Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and Norris Cole.
While Mike Miller or Shane Battier occasionally can slide over to the 2-guard—there is no true reserve to fill in, should someone become injured.
The general consensus is that Oden should be added to the roster.
The status of his health is presently unknown and while he would be a great addition at 100 percent, Oden is definitely not there yet. Adding him while being unable to contribute would be a pointless move to finalize the roster.
Harris worked extremely hard to make Miami's final spot in 2011 and deserves another stint with the defending champions. He would be welcomed back with open arms, from both the organization and its fans, and would add stability to an already fantastic group.
All statistics courtesy of nba.com/dleague/statistics.
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