The Miami Heat have surpassed expectations this season, having managed to keep winning games despite what COVID-19 and injuries have thrown at them. The Heat’s road trip was supposed to begin with a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, however, the fixture was postponed as they had more members of their roster enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols and couldn’t come up with the requisite number of players.
Like most teams in the league, the Heat have had to scramble to sign players to 10-day contracts in order to augment its depleted squad. Heat fans weren’t particularly thrilled with the names that came through earlier this week but they have to love the last two. Mario Chalmers, who won two titles as a starting point guard for the Heat during the Big 3 era, is being brought back on a 10-day contract, per the Athletic’s Shams Charania.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 30, 2021
Chalmers was drafted by the Heat in the second round of the NBA Draft in 2008 and would go on to play a huge role in the team’s four trips to the finals and their back-to-back championship wins in 2012 and 2013. While he was a bit of a whipping horse during his time with the Heat, he’s absolutely loved by the team’s fans and he will be a sight for sore eyes when he takes to the court in a Miami uniform.
Chalmers spent seven years with the Heat before getting traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. He left the NBA in 2018 and played on teams in Italy, Greece, and Puerto Rico, as well as the Big 3 and G League.
“I was looking for any opportunities just to be seen,” Chalmers said prior to the latest development in his career. “I made the decision that I didn’t want to play overseas again. Playing overseas the last three years and being away from my family and not getting all the money that I deserved, it was difficult times… I want to show that I can still play. I’ve still got a lot to offer a team. I’m a proven winner.”
The Heat have four games to play in the next 10 days, should they be allowed to go on. Their game against the Houston Rockets on Friday did take place and Chalmers, who said he was ready to go, did not see any action. Florida sports betting would have favored the Heat given their form and Houston’s lackluster performances so far this season.
The Heat have also brought back forward Chris Silva on a similar contract. The Gabonese played for the Heat for two seasons, 2019/20 and 2020/21, and endeared himself to fans with the energy he brought to the team. While he only averaged 3.0 points and 2.9 rebounds in his first season, he was key to the team’s run to the NBA Finals in 2020.
The Heat traded Silva and Moe Harkless to the Sacramento Kings for Nemanja Bjeilica in March 2021; he was later waived. Silva was picked up by the Minnesota Timberwolves but was without a team until Miami brought him back on Friday.
He will join the likes of Chalmers, Nik Stauskas, Kyle Guy, and Aric Holman as emergency signings and Erik Spoelstra will hope he could provide solid minutes at the center as rookie Omer Yurtseven was the team’s only one available, with Bam Adebayo, Dewayne Demon, Markieff Morris, and Udonis Haslem all on the periphery.
P.J. Tucker, who could have provided Miami with a small-ball option at center, has entered protocols too.
“That’s the perplexing thing about this right now, this variant,” Spoelstra said following the postponement of the game against San Antonio. “I think we’ve gotten to a point — I’ve said it before — we need more information. Are there more asymptomatic cases? All of this is with the caveat of double vaccination, with a booster and then asymptomatic, what does that mean and what adjustments can we make there? … I think it leads to a lot of confusion.”
Despite COVID-19 and injuries ravaging the team, Miami has won nine of their last 11 games. They will be happy to have Kyle lowry back available after the veteran point guard was entered into protocols and having Chalmers around can’t hurt either.