Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 3/21/12
At least the newest Miami Heat reserve center wont have to enroll with Jenny Craig. The Heat have had Dexter Pittman and Eddy Curry, whose seasons have included as much time shedding pounds as working on their games. But Ronny Turiaf, who signed with the Heat after clearing waivers Wednesday, is a 6-foot-10, 250-pound guy who has had no weight problems and is a consummate professional. Of course, how much he can help the Heat remains to be seen. The Heat were desperate for another big man, and Turiaf, 29, is about the best they could get. He was traded from Washington to Denver last week, and then let go by the Nuggets to free up a roster spot to sign restricted free agent Wilson Chandler. Turiaf, who has secured a guaranteed prorated 4.36 million for this season, joins Miami on a prorated minimum deal. He wanted to go where he can have an impact on a team that could go deep in the playoffs, said Turiafs agent, Mark Bartelstein. The career statistics for the seven-year veteran of 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game are not impressive. And he didnt build upon them this season, having averaged 1.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in four early-season games with the Wizards before suffering a broken left hand, an injury Bartelstein said has fully healed. But Turiaf, who will practice with the Heat for the first time Thursday, is another big body Heat coach Erik Spoelstra can utilize behind starting center Joel Anthony, especially in the playoffs. Turiaf has Finals experience with the Lakers in their 4-2 loss to Boston in 2008. During that postseason, he logged nearly 10 minutes per game. Turiaf joining the Heat makes it even more likely Curry wont be able to help much this season. The 7-foot Curry once weighed around 400 pounds before recently getting under 300. But hes gotten into just 11 games this season, providing 14 points and six rebounds in scant minutes. As for the 6-11 Pittman, who weighed 395 pounds as a Texas freshman in 2006-07 and this season has gotten down from 322 to 278, it remains be seen what will happen with his role. With Anthony out with a sprained ankle Tuesday against Phoenix, Spoelstra said Pittman was not bad in his first career start. He had six points, four rebounds, two steals and four fouls in 14 minutes. Pittman, a second-year man, might have a role in the postseason against very big bodies or his inexperience could lead him to being a nonentity. For now, he hasnt had a problem with the Heat having gone on a search to find another big man. Every team in the NBA needs bigs, said Pittman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.8 rebounds over 7.4 minutes for the season. As long as I keep doing my job and continue to get better and learn, I shouldnt worry. At least Turiafs signing could lead the Heat to worry less about too many minutes piling up for starting power forward Chris Bosh as the backup center. With Anthony out Tuesday, Pittman and Curry were used for only about 18 combined minutes. Forward Udonis Haslem got a four-minute stint at center, leading to Bosh playing about 26 of his 36 minutes at the spot. Its not tough, man, the 6-11, 235-pound Bosh said of logging increased minutes this season in the pivot. Thats what I was born to do. I worked hard in the offseason I knew it was going like this (with the Heat entering the season short on big men). If you know, you can prepare. I prepared all offseason. Nevertheless, Turiaf could give Bosh some additional relief. Its a chance worth taking on a guy who at least has been in shape throughout his career. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter@christomasson
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