Juwan Howard's agent hopeful for Heat return
MIAMI — Forward Juwan Howard won’t be with the Miami Heat to start training camp. But his agent is hopeful he eventually will join the team.
“I’m always optimistic,’’ David Falk said in a phone interview Thursday with FOX Sports Florida.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had told reporters earlier Thursday that Howard, an 18-year veteran who played the past two seasons with Miami, would not be in camp for Saturday’s start but did not rule out he eventually could join the team. Falk said he’s continuing to try to get Howard signed.
“Juwan has a very strong affinity (for the Heat),’’ Falk said. “We’re trying to work it out …. He’s interested in playing another season for the Heat.’’
Falk stressed Howard, 39, does not want to retire. He said his client is focusing on a return to Miami, where Falk said has developed great relationships with Heat players, coaches and management.
“He absolutely is not considering retiring, and he would like to play another year,’’ Falk said. “He absolutely had a wonderful experience last year with the Heat …. He’s had other inquires (from teams), but he wants to stay where he is.’’
Howard, who played mostly an off-the-court leadership role, averaged 1.5 points in 28 games last season while making the minimum of $1.352 million and winning his first title. The Heat only can pay Howard that same salary this season.
It’s unclear if what is keeping Howard out of camp are negotiations on whether his contract would have guaranteed money. Falk said talks with the Heat are “private.’’
The Heat on Thursday signed free-agent forwards Rodney Carney and Robert Dozier to bring their training camp roster to the maximum of 20, 13 with guaranteed deals. Miami, which must be down to 15 for the regular-season opener Oct. 30 against Boston, could end up waiving a player to bring in Howard.
Howard, who turns 40 on Feb. 7, is in line to be the NBA’s third-oldest player this season. New York forward Kurt Thomas turns 40 on Oct. 4 and Clippers forward Grant Hill hits that age Oct. 5.
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