Re: Miami signs Eddy Curry, Terrel Harris... AND Michael Gladness
MIAMI — On the night that he won the right to a guaranteed contract for the rest of the season, Heat guard Terrel Harris still felt a little lost. That's because there was no longer a nameplate above the locker next to his, the one that had belonged to fellow rookie, close friend and road dinner partner Mickell Gladness.
"Bittersweet is exactly right," Harris said. "I'm happy that I'm here, but I hate to see him have to go. I wish we could both stay, man. And that's sincere."
The Heat chose to waive Gladness, a center from Alabama A&M, before Tuesday's 6 p.m. deadline to guarantee contracts, while keeping Harris and center Eddy Curry.
That freed up the 15th and final roster spot and, as coach Erik Spoelstra noted, created "some flexibility if we choose to use it," though Spoelstra said nothing was imminent with free-agent center Joel Przybilla or anyone else. Przybilla, who split last season between Portland and Charlotte and could provide a defensive presence in short minutes, is reportedly deciding between Miami and Chicago.
For Curry and Harris, the achievement was significant. Curry played in only 10 games the past three seasons, including none last season, before sticking with Miami out of training camp; the organization still views him as viable a long-term project. Harris was undrafted out of Oklahoma State, then spent two seasons in the NBA Development League as well as some time in Germany before calling Heat VP of player personnel Chet Kammerer and requesting a chance.
Recently, Harris has been inactive, but he has contributed when called upon, including a 14-rebound game in a win at Atlanta.
"As long as I keep doing right, on and off the court, and stay positive and keep my faith, the sky's the limit for me," Harris said.
As for Gladness, he could be brought back on a 10-day contract after clearing the 48-hour waiver period.
"He seemed down a little bit, but he's a strong, positive guy," Harris said.
That's what Gladness tried to make clear with a tweet, shortly after the Heat made the decision official.
"Only the strong survive and the way I see it I've survived this once and I'll do it again."
BIG NIGHT FOR GEE
Byron Scott used Alonzo Gee as a starter 29 times last season. The Cavaliers coach hadn't done so at all this season - until Tuesday night.
"We didn't have (anybody) else," Scott said. "Made it kind of easy."
Cleveland was without its top two shooting guards, Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker, as well as rookie forward Tristan Thompson.
So Scott turned to the small forward Gee, a former star at Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gardens who had already requested more than 20 tickets for friends and family members. The NBA Development League's Rookie of the Year in 2010-11 appears to have found a home in his third NBA organization as a defensive specialist and slasher.
On Tuesday, he showed off his athleticism, blocking a shot attempt by LeBron James and also dunking to finish a baseline drive. Gee finished with 17 points, shooting 6-of-11 from the field.
- The East team with the best record as of Feb. 15 will supply the coaching staff for the conference in the All-Star Game. The Heat entered Tuesday's play in striking distance of Chicago for the No. 1 spot, but it's no secret that coaches prefer to have the weekend off, especially in a season as hectic as this one. Spoelstra quipped that "it's an awesome event ... for the players."
- Heat forward/center Juwan Howard, the second-oldest player in the NBA to Portland's Kurt Thomas, turned 39. "As long as I'm in great shape, I'm able to keep up with the young 'uns," said Howard, who has played in only 41 minutes this season.