From NBA.com staff reports
On Jan. 20, the Heat took a flyer on Chris “Birdman” Andersen, signing the free-agent center to the first of two 10-day contracts. By Jan. 30, Andersen, who was amnestied by the Denver Nuggets prior to the 2012-13 season, had a season-long deal with the defending champs.
Come playoff time, Andersen more than proved his value to Miami as his defense, hustle plays, tenacity and more helped spark the Heat off the bench. He had a stretch in the East finals where he made his first 15 shots and was critical in a Game 1 victory over the Pacers. His play was vital to Miami repeating as NBA champs and, as the play above shows, he came up with some key plays in a Game 7 victory over the Spurs in The Finals.
As such, Andersen became the offseason free-agent priority for team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra, and as Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports, will be with the Heat for one more season:
Chris Andersen – the famous Birdman – has agreed to a one-year contract to return to the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Andersen played a telltale part in the Heat’s championship run, signing in January and immediately impacting the Heat during a 27-game winning streak that turned into a prelude to another NBA title. The Heat were 37-3 in the regular season with him.
Andersen, 34, was spectacular in the Heat’s Eastern Conference finals series against the Indiana Pacers, making 15 consecutive shots.
In less than 15 minutes a game, Andersen averaged nearly five points and four rebounds for the Heat. He also gave Miami a formidable and physical presence around the basket.
Andersen played 32 games for the Denver Nuggets in the 2011-12 season, before the Nuggets used the NBA’s amnesty clause to waive him. He’s played parts of 11 seasons with Denver, New Orleans and Miami.
And as ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst point out, Andersen re-signed with the Heat for less money than he likely would have commanded in the open market:
Anderson could have commanded longer deals elsewhere, but sources said he couldn’t bear to leave such a good situation in Miami, where he emerged as the Heat’s best big man after joining the team in January.
The Heat had made bringing Andersen back an offseason priority but are limited somewhat financially because they are facing a $30 million luxury tax bill this upcoming season.