Miami Heat sign Jarvis Varnado and Mickell Gladness to Roster

By Daniel Carpio

Earlier this afternoon the Miami Heat announced moves to fill out their roster in time for training camp.

The Heat posted on their Facebook and Twitter pages that Jarvis Varnado and Mickell Gladness have been signed to their roster. Both players are familiar to the team and their fans.

Gladness has been in Miami’s training camp the last two seasons. He made the final Heat roster for the 2011-12 NBA season and even played in the season opener against the Dallas Mavericks. Gladness played sparingly throughout the season until he was waived by Miami on February 7 to avoid guaranteeing his contract. He was signed by the Heat twice to 10-day contracts after he was waived. He was then signed by the Golden State Warriors until the end of the season.

Varnado was picked by Miami in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. He holds the single season SEC shot block record once held by Shaquille O’Neal along with the all time NCAA record for blocked shots. Varnado was stashed by the Heat after he was drafted in Italy. He participated in mini camps held by Miami in 2011 before being stashed again in Israel and Italy.

Both players were in the Heat’s Summer League team this year.

This by no means is the end of Miami’s search to fill out their roster. While the Heat now have 15 players under contract, NBA teams are allowed to have up to 20 players on roster during training camp. That gives Miami some room in their search to find a bargain big man. Before this the team had two roster spots realistically still available.

Varnado seems more likely to make the final roster. The advantage he has is that he was drafted by Miami and that the team continually renewed their claim to his NBA rights. Varnado has also expressed during Summer League play that he wants to play center. He can use his international experience  to possibly move ahead of the slowly developing Dexter Pittman. He can also play his natural position at power forward.

Gladness will have the tougher path to the final roster. With Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra planning to speed up the team’s already fast play, Gladness might not be able to keep up. Still there is a reason that Miami keeps bringing him back to the fold. Team president Pat Riley was able to find a diamond in the rough with Udonis Haslem, maybe he sees the same for Gladness.

While both Varnado and Gladness  have a long way to go in their NBA journey, maybe they’ll find themselves defending a championship. That will probably suit them just fine.

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