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Miami Heat sign Chris Andersen to 10-day contract

Miami Heat sign Chris Andersen to 10-day contract

MIAMI (AP) Chris Andersen wore a stars-and-stripes headband Sunday morning, showed off the colorful array of tattoos that stretch from his neck to his ankles and virtually all spots in between, and spoke about himself in the third person.

He's got 10 days to make an impression on the Miami Heat.

Seems like he's already off to a good start.

The veteran forward-center signed a 10-day deal with the Heat on Sunday and worked out with his new club for the first time. For a team that's looking for rebounding help, Andersen - who hasn't appeared in an NBA game since playing with Denver last March - is hoping that he will be the answer.

``This opportunity and being with the defending champs, it's a dream come true,'' Andersen said. ``They're taking a chance with me and I'm here to give them everything I've got, defensively, diving on the floor, blocking shots, you know, the usual that a Birdman does and what Birdman brings.''

Birdman is the nickname he's had for years.

The Heat are more than a little curious to find out if he can still fly.

``Typically, you're not able to get a player of his caliber at this time of year,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ``But three years ago he was the best in the game coming off the bench at his position, as a shot-blocker and a rebounder. We've always liked him. We had him in our camp a long time ago, when he was just coming up in this league, pre-tattoo, and we liked him back then. Ever since then we've searched for ways to get him back.''

The Heat worked Andersen - who has averaged 5.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 482 NBA games - out earlier this month, around the time they were starting a six-game road swing. They didn't sign him immediately, but Andersen was doing two-a-day sessions in Miami while the Heat were gone and in essence scouting the way they played from studying their games closely during the trip.

If all goes well, Andersen is expected to make his Heat debut on Wednesday when Miami hosts Toronto.

``We love guys with chips who feel like they've got something to prove for a lot of teams not giving them an opportunity,'' Heat forward LeBron James said. ``Hopefully he plays with that type of intensity.''

Andersen's past - and in some respects, his present - is dotted by off-court issues.

He was barred from the NBA for just over two years because of substance-abuse issues, and had his home in Colorado searched last May as part of an investigation into what was described as Internet-related crimes against children. He was excused from team activities by Denver to deal with the investigation, and the Nuggets waived him through the amnesty clause in July.

``There has been an investigation and I have cooperated fully with the authorities in Denver,'' Andersen said. ``I am not the target of the investigation and no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed against me. I'm grateful for this opportunity that the Miami Heat has given me.''

Speaking before his team played Oklahoma City on Sunday night, Denver coach George Karl said he was ``very happy'' that Andersen is getting a chance with Miami.

``Bird knows we've given him very good endorsements,'' Karl said.

Spoelstra did not address Andersen's off-court questions specifically, though insisted that Miami has no qualms about bringing him into the mix.

``We've done enough research on him. We feel he fits in very well,'' Spoelstra said.

And yes, Heat president Pat Riley's preference for players to not wear headbands - a policy that has been relaxed a bit in recent years - will not apply to Andersen.

He asked for permission, and apparently got it in a mildly comical manner.

``I was told about the code of conduct around here,'' Andersen said. ``I went into Pat Riley's office and I asked him if it was cool if I could wear my headband, because I do a sweat a lot. And he was like, yeah, because he didn't want me perspiring on his nice floor.''

No, what Riley wants is for him to rebound on his nice floor.

Rebounding has been a major question for the Heat in recent weeks, even while the team has held on to the top spot in the Eastern Conference race. So the team made roughly 21 feet worth of moves on Sunday, signing both Andersen and Jarvis Varnado to 10-day deals - it's Varnado's second such contract with Miami - and recalling another big man, Dexter Pittman from the NBA Development League team in Sioux Falls.

Miami entered Sunday ranked 29th in the 30-team NBA in rebounds per game.

``I'm here to help assist in any kind of rebounding or defense that I can provide to an already outstanding team who are defending champions,'' Andersen said. ``And I'm just ecstatic to be here and I'm ready to get back to blockin' and rollin'.''

Andersen said he had his left knee scoped in August, but has been able to work out in Texas and Colorado while waiting for an NBA team to call. He didn't reveal how good the knee feels now, though pointed to his tattoos as evidence that he's got at least some level of pain tolerance.

``That ain't gonna keep the Birdman from flyin' and getting in there and getting some rebounds and bangin' and playin' hard,'' Andersen said. ``As you can see, I'm pretty much accustomed to pain. But it ain't gonna stop me from coming out here and assisting these champions and trying to help them win another championship.''

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

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Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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