Miami Heat news: Heat sign Jarvis Varnado, re-sign Josh Harrellson to 10-day contracts

The signings give the Heat 15 players under contract, with center Dexter Pittman being assigned to the NBA Development League. Harrellson was re-signed after being waived earlier this week. Varnado was recently waived by the Boston Celtics, ahead of the deadline for non-guaranteed contracts to become guaranteed the remainder of the season. He averaged just 3.6 minutes in five appearances with the Celtics.

"I feel like it's a good [opportunity]," Varnado said. "I'm 100 percent now. I can show the team what I can do. In Boston, I didn't get that chance. Everything works out for the best."

Varnado was the Heat's second-round pick in 2010 before spending the past two seasons playing overseas. He played with the Miami summer-league team and was invited to training camp but was slowed by nagging injuries.

He was among the first waived in the preseason while being bothered with an abdominal strain.

"We want to continue to evaluate him," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We always liked him. He had a tough shake during training camp. He got hurt, he was hurt during the summer. We never got to see him at full strength. We've got flexibility to give him another look. There's a reason why we drafted him in the first place."

Before joining the Celtics, Varnado started eight games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He averaged 14 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.38 blocks and 30.4 minutes while shooting .575 from the field. Pittman has since taken his place on the Skyforce roster.

Varnado concluded his collegiate career at Mississippi State as the NCAA's all-time leader in blocked shots (564).

Battier misses practice

Forward Shane Battier did not practice because of a sore hamstring. Spoelstra said Battier is a game-time decision for Thursday.

"We don't want to push it any more, especially on a day like (Wednesday) where we were really getting after it," Spoelstra said. "We'll evaluate it (Thursday) and see how he feels."

Battier missed three games earlier this season with a sprained right knee.

Rebounding slows fastbreak

The Heat had a season-low one fastbreak point in Tuesday's loss to the Indiana Pacers. James said it was a direct correlation with the poor rebounding.

"Everyone has to be in there (rebounding)," James said. "It hard to get run-outs. That's been our Kryptonite as far as our fastbreak points. When we don't rebound, we can't get out."

Respect for Lillard

Wade and James both cast their vote for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard for Rookie of the Year.

Lillard leads all rookies with averages of 18.5 points and 6.5 assists. He was recently named Western Conference Rookie of the Month.

James said he was most impressed with Lillard's poise since entering the league out of Weber State.

"It's like he's been there before," James said. "He's never out of his comfort zone. He's never too fast, he's never too slow."

Wade said, "He's playing amazing. I get to see him up close (Thursday). What he's been doing as a rookie, he's just one of those special rookies."


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