The Miami Heat have made no secret of their desire for defensive help at the center position, and are reportedly likely to acquire forward Jarvis Varnado, recently waived by the Boston Celtics.
Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that the Heat are considering signing Varnado to a 10-day contract. The 24-year-old was Miami's second-round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He spent the past two seasons playing in Italy and Israel, and appeared in Heat training camp before the 2012-13 season.
Miami waived Varnado in September, whereupon he joined Souix Falls in the D-League. The Celtics signed him on Christmas eve, and Varnado appeared in 5 games for Boston before being waived Sunday. In just 18 minutes of action with the Celtics, Varnado scored 6 points and collected 3 rebounds to go with an assist and a steal.
With Souix Falls, he averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks a game (over ten games total). He is a tenacious defender akin to the Heat's Joel Anthony, and like Anthony, is too small to be considered a traditional defender (standing 6'9").
Varnado was the all-time leading shot blocker in NCAA history when he completed a four-year run at Mississippi State, winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year three times.
Signing Varnado would give Heat coach Erik Spoelstra more defensive options coming off the bench. Miami's mediocre rebounding has been team's biggest weakness through the first third of the season, and Spoelstra continues to tinker with rotations in order to fin lineups that can protect the glass.
Additionally, the Heat worked out free agent center Chris Andersen on Tuesday in Miami while the team prepared for a road game against the Indiana Pacers.
"He's a shot blocker, dunker, assaults the rim all the time," Heat center Chris Bosh told the Miami Herald about Andersen on Tuesday, "Energy, hustle, runs the floor well. You can definitely see how he can help us. He's always rolling hard to the basket. Just his defensive presence, knack for rebounding."
The Heat have two roster spots open after waiving Terrell Harris and Josh Harrellson in the past week, so it is conceivable that both Varnado and Andersen could be added to the roster before the week is up.