Heat bring back ‘Birdman’ on one-year deal
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Heat have re-signed Chris Andersen to a one-year deal, the two-time defending champions announced on Wednesday in a press release.
“We are ecstatic that Chris Andersen has decided to stay with the Heat,” team president Pat Riley said. “We would not have won the championship without him and we are looking forward to him having an even better season next year.”
“I’m excited to be back with the Heat,” Andersen added. “I believe we have an opportunity to repeat and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Andersen, 35, joined the Heat on January 20, first signing two 10-day contracts and then signing for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. In 34 games, he averaged 4.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and a block in 14.9 minutes a game.
Nicknamed Birdman, he was a major factor in the playoffs as well, providing defense and rebounding off the bench as well as contributing points around the basket. He shot an outstanding 80.7% from the field in the postseason and averaged 6.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks a game in the postseason.
Birdman’s colorful personality and distinctive, heavily tattooed look made him a fan favorite in Miami as well, spawning several young imitators.
“Birdman’s a rock star,” Heat star Dwyane Wade told USA TODAY Sports recently. “Everyone in Miami is crazed over Birdman. He comes in with so much energy.
“When he came into the team, he really changed the (center) position and gave us that athletic guy who could finish, could block shots, just did a lot of great things for us,” Wade added. “Without him, I don’t know if we would have been able to win a championship, so it was great to bring him to the team and have him this season.”
With the signing of Andersen, the Heat’s roster stands at 14 players.