MIAMI — Chris Andersen is returning to the NBA champion Miami Heat, and at a bargain price.
Andersen signed a $1.7 million, one-year deal Wednesday, becoming the latest in a long line of current Heat players who were willing to sacrifice some salary. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and Ray Allen are among those who could have gotten more money either from the Heat or elsewhere when signing their current deals.
And now, Andersen has done the same, a move that lessens the luxury tax burden the Heat will face this coming season. Andersen could have commanded $3.2 million from the Heat this season, but by taking the lesser deal, he saves the Heat more than $1.5 million on that looming tax bill.
Andersen will also be receiving about $5 million this season from the Denver Nuggets, as part of the contract that his former club escaped from under the amnesty provision last year.
Andersen averaged 4.9 points in 42 games this past season off the Heat bench, then averaged 6.4 points in 20 playoff games. The Heat were 54-8 in games where Andersen appeared, after he joined the team in late January as a free agent and quickly became an intregal part of Miami's big-man rotation.
He shot 81 percent from the floor during the playoffs. According to STATS, that is the best percentage ever by a player who attempted more than 50 shots in a single postseason.
Andersen spent several days weighing a number of offers, though it was clear throughout free agency that his first choice was to stay in Miami. He resumed workouts at the team's practice facility within a week of Miami's championship parade, and committed last week to join James, Allen and other Heat teammates at the ESPY awards in Los Angeles on July 17.