The Miami Heat moved quickly on Wednesday to fill up one of their two open roster spots by signing forward Jarvis Varnado to a ten-day contract.
The Heat and Varnado are familiar with each other already. Varnado, who currently holds the NCAA all-time shot block record, impressed Heat team president Pat Riley enough to pick him in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. Riley then stashed Varnado overseas to gain experience while still retaining his NBA rights.
Varnado has had two shots at making the Heat roster with luck not being on his side. He was invited to training camp in 2011 after the NBA lockout was lifted, but the short length of the camp gave little time to fully evaluate him. Varnado was invited again to this season’s Heat training camp and impressed early enough to be considered a dark horse candidate for a roster spot. However, an abdominal injury sidelined him enough in the preseason to once again not give Miami time to evaluate and cause the team to waive him again.
This time, instead of going back overseas, Varnado decided to play in the D-League. That made him eligible to be signed by any NBA team. That happened on Christmas Eve 2012 when the Boston Celtics signed Varnado to fortify their injury depleted frontcourt bench. Almost two weeks later, on January 6, he was waived by Boston after appearing in five games during garbage time.
Varnado can use this opportunity to finally show Miami that he is ready to contribute in the team’s chase for a second straight championship now that he is healthy. He was able to practice with the Heat in Wednesday and might be available tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers.