Heat add combo guard Head

Updated: March 4, 2009, 7:11 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Seeking backcourt help going into the playoff run, the Miami Heat signed combo guard Luther Head on Wednesday for the remainder of the season.

Head was waived Monday by the Houston Rockets, for whom he played 255 games in his first four NBA seasons. He took a physical Wednesday morning, then signed later in the day. He was not with the Heat on Wednesday night for their game against Phoenix,

About a half-dozen teams were seriously interested in signing Head, but the lure of playing time and playoff possibilities prompted him to decide on Miami, which had a roster spot open to make the move.

"He's the type of player that fits," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's got a defensive background with the Houston Rockets. ... They've had a top-five defense there the whole time he's been there. He's got a similar background to our system, which helps. I would probably guess he knows our rules as concepts as well as anybody already."

Head's career with the Rockets started with plenty of promise. He averaged 13.1 points in his first seven starts with Houston as a rookie, and eventually settled in as a key reserve over the next three years.

But he dropped down Houston's depth chart this season, struggled with an injury to his right foot and only appeared in 22 games -- averaging career lows of 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 14.6 minutes.

Like Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Head is a Chicago native -- and played with Wade at times this past summer while the Miami star was getting ready for the Beijing Olympics.

"I think the main thing is to get a guy who can play both the one and the two, a combo guard but also a guy who can stretch the floor," Wade said. "Guys like myself ... we love shooters. Shooters are our best friends."

Head could help Miami in a variety of ways.

First, he's a ballhandler and the Heat have sought an extra one of those to play behind starter Mario Chalmers. Backup point guard Chris Quinn hasn't hardly played in Miami's most recent four games, with Wade logging plenty of minutes at the point.

He's also a proven 3-point shooter. About half of the shots Head has taken since entering the NBA have been from beyond the arc, and he connected on 177 of 401 attempts from long range just two seasons ago.

And Head could be an instant-offense type off the bench -- he had 65 double-digit scoring efforts off the bench in his time with Houston, with the Rockets going 45-20 in those games.

"He can play on the court with Dwyane, he can play when Dwyane's not in the game and he has playoff experience, which is an added bonus," Spoelstra said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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