The power forward Saturday became the first player in Heat history to be on the roster older than 40. The Heat signed Howard, who turned 40 last month, to a 10-day contract.
The 19-year veteran was with the team the previous two seasons and won his first NBA title last year before becoming a free agent. He had not been on a roster this season until returning to the Heat.
The Heat like Howard because of his off-the-court leadership abilities. He's not expected to play much at all for them.
“Juwan is a key part of the championship culture here in Miami,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. "He is essential to this team and can still play this game at a high level in some of our biggest games yet to come. He has a unique veteran savvy and will provide leadership and experience to our team.”
Howard becomes the third-oldest active player in the NBA behind New York's Kurt Thomas and the Los Angeles Clippers' Grant Hill, who both turned 40 last October.
The Heat had looked at free-agent power forward Lou Amundson for their 15th and final roster spot. But they decided the high-energy player duplicated recently signed
Chris Andersen too much, so Amundson signed a 10-day deal Saturday with Chicago.
Howard can sign up to two 10-day contracts and then the Heat must decide whether to keep him for the rest of the season or let him go. While there's a good chance of Howard being kept until the end, the team does have some flexibility over the next three weeks.
Howard has a career scoring average of 13.4 points, including 1.5 last season in 28 Heat games. His agent, David Falk, had told FOX Sports Florida last September that Howard was not retiring and was optimistic his client eventually would re-sign with the Heat.