Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NBA [Print without images]

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Heat work out Chris Andersen

By Michael Wallace
ESPN.com

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat took a key step toward addressing their rebounding problems Tuesday by working out free-agent veteran Chris Andersen at the team's practice facility, league sources confirmed.

Andersen, a 6-foot-10 veteran who has played 10 seasons in the league, was seen entering AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday and was scheduled for a midmorning workout in front of team president Pat Riley and other members of the Heat's front-office staff.

Yahoo! Sports earlier reported details of Andersen emerging as an option for the Heat, who rank among the NBA's worst rebounding teams and are 3-3 over their past six games entering a six-game road trip.

Andersen's workout in Miami came a day after the Heat departed for Indiana, where they will face the Pacers on Tuesday night. A league official described the Heat's interest in Andersen as preliminary to gauge what type of shape he's in amid his layoff.

Andersen was released by the Denver Nuggets last season after playing in 32 games last season. The 34-year-old forward/center has averaged 5.4 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field during his colorful and controversial career that included a stop in New Orleans.

One of Andersen's most productive seasons came in 2008-09 in Denver, where he helped anchor the front line and averaged 6.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks off the bench. He was second in the league in blocked shots that season.

Know as much for his array of tattoos as the defense and energy he has provided on the court, Andersen also served a two-year suspension for violating the league's drug policy in 2006 while with the Hornets. He returned in 2008 and signed a five-year, $28 million contract with the Nuggets in 2009.

Denver waived Andersen using the amnesty clause after last season. In May, his Colorado home was searched by police in connection with an investigation regarding crimes against children, but Andersen was never charged and his lawyers claimed he was a victim of an extortion attempt.

The Heat have been known under Riley for offering second and sometimes third chances for players to get back on their feet in the league. Last season, Miami signed out-of-work center Eddy Curry after he had been sidelined for parts of three seasons by conditioning problems and off-court issues.

But Miami's lack of frontcourt size and depth have driven the defending champions to seek help to get through at least the rigors of the regular season. The Heat won a title last season by creating matchup problems in the playoffs with a small-ball style that shifted Chris Bosh to center and featured LeBron James and Shane Battier sharing the bulk of the minutes at power forward.

Sustaining that strategy has presented some challenges in the regular season against some bigger teams. The Heat were outrebounded by 20 boards in Friday's home loss to the Chicago Bulls. A day after that loss, coach Erik Spoelstra said he spoke with Riley about the rebounding issues and that both agreed that the team would first try to address the problem internally.

But the Heat then released two seldom-used players -- center Josh Harrellson and guard Terrell Harris -- to create roster spots that give the team flexibility to add help through trades or available free agents.

If the Heat are pleased with Andersen's workout Tuesday, they could sign him immediately to a prorated portion of the veteran's minimum of about $1.3 for the rest of this season. Riley could also schedule Andersen for a follow-up workout in front of Spoelstra and the coaching staff during or after the Heat's current trip.