Even in the offseason, there is never a dull moment for the Miami Heat. After falling to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, they got an answer to one of their many questions when Chris Andersen decided to come back for the 2014-15 season. The team announced the deal on Saturday:
The Miami HEAT announced today that they have re-signed forward/center Chris Andersen. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Chris Andersen has had two great seasons with us and without him, we would not have been able to win the 2013 NBA Championship,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “I’m happy he decided to come back and we’re looking forward to a great season from him in the power rotation.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported the news:
Wojnarowski added: "Several teams made strong pushes for Andersen – including a late bid by the New York Knicks – but Andersen wanted to return to a roster core and franchise that will move on without LeBron James."
ESPN's Marc Stein added financial details:
Andersen is a bargain considering his position and production. He's a 6'10" center/power forward who averaged 6.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Eastern Conference champions last season.
Birdman's salary for next season would have been $1.45 million as part of a two-year contract he signed with the team prior to the 2013-14 season, according to Spotrac.com. By comparison, Emeka Okafor, who averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game with Phoenix in 2012-13, made $13.5 million that season, per Spotrac.com.
There are certainly reasons for that discrepancy in pay. Andersen has had his issues off the floor, getting kicked out of the NBA in 2006 for violating the league's drug policy before returning for five games late in the 2007-08 season.
Age is not on Andersen's side right now as he will turn 36 in July and only played in more than 45 games once in the last four years, but he's still a productive big man in a league where size is still hard to find.
Even though there might have been more money on the table for Andersen if he decided to opt out, there's something to be said for sticking with a good situation.
Of course, with LeBron James taking his talents elsewhere, the Heat will look very different by the time next season starts.
Andersen, like so many Heat players not named LeBron, was missing in action during the NBA Finals. He scored a total of 13 points and shot just 25 percent from the floor in five games, but he was able to add 5.6 rebounds in 18 minutes per game.
Heat president Pat Riley raved about Andersen's importance to the championship club two years ago after he re-signed with the team last offseason, via NBA.com:
We are ecstatic that Chris Andersen has decided to stay with the Miami Heat. We would not have won the championship without him and we are looking forward to him having an even better season next year.
The Heat weren't able to repeat as champions this year, but that was far from Andersen's fault. He did, for the most part, what was asked of him in limited minutes on the floor.
Now the 12-year NBA veteran will once again have a chance to prove himself under one of the brightest spotlights the league has to offer.
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