After months of waiting on the outlook of his NBA career, Terrel Harris can now finally rejoin the Miami Heat.
Of course, he’ll have to earn his way on. Like Mickell Gladness and Jarvis Varnado a week earlier, Harris was signed to a non-guaranteed deal that will have him practicing with the Heat, but with the possibility that he could be let go. Miami is allowed to bring 20 people to training camp, but most whittle it down to 15 by the beginning of the season, which is October 30th.
Before then, the Heat will have training camp and eight preseason games, starting on October 7th against Atlanta, to decide who the final two players will be to fill out the remaining two spots on the roster.
Harris could be one of the player more likely to make it because he was a part of the championship team from last year. In his rookie season as an unsigned guard out of Oklahoma State, Harris played in 22 games, started one, and averaged 3.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per, while converting 35 percent from the field and 21 percent from beyond the arc.
Obviously, there are things Harris can work on. But Miami has seen what type of potential Harris has in him, with a key example being his tremendous effort in a triple-overtime win against Atlanta early in the 2011-’12 season. With Dwyane Wade and LeBron James sidelined, it was Harris stepping up at every facet of the game and finishing with 9 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists in 39 minutes worth of action.
Harris is quite the aggressor on the boards, despite only being 6’4″. He also had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 26 minutes in a loss to Memphis and 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 35 minutes in a win against Charlotte.
Signing Harris represents the Heat signing for the future–a rarity. Out of the 16 players under contract with the Heat, eight of them are 30 years or older and nearly all of them represent a significant spot in the rotation. James, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are the only players under 30 who could boast significant minutes, and even Cole could be excluded from that list considering how he fell out of rotation last year.
Harris was one of four Heat free agents. Ronny Turiaf, who signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, Juwan Howard and Eddy Curry are the others. The Heat haven’t addressed matters on signing Howard or Curry, who recently met with the Brooklyn Nets.
Harris will be evaluated based on his performance over the next month. The Heat want to see the same defensive intensity and aggression on the boards, as well as a more consistent jump shot. With Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Mike Miller being the primary shooting guards, an injury is always possible and Harris would need to be ready at all times to take on the role of a rotation job.
Former Heat draft pick Robert Dozier will also possibly join the team with a non-guaranteed deal. The 60th pick in the 2009 draft has spent his basketball playing career with Colossus Rhodes and PAOK BC of Greece, as well as Cholet Basket, a French team. He has yet to play in the NBA, but has been on a number of Summer League rosters including the most recent one where he averaged 3.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per.