Posted Oct 23 2010 2:55PM - Updated Oct 23 2010 11:28PM
MIAMI (AP) -- Once denied a championship by Miami, Jerry Stackhouse is resuming his chase of a title with the Heat.
Stackhouse joined the Heat on Saturday, one day after the NBA championship hopefuls learned that they'll be without injured swingman Mike Miller until possibly January. Stackhouse, who turns 36 next month, averaged 8.5 points in 42 games as a reserve with the Milwaukee Bucks last season.
"This is a very exciting time in my basketball career," said Stackhouse, a two-time All-Star who's now with his sixth NBA club and worked out with the Heat on Saturday, the same day Dwyane Wade returned to full work with the team for the first time since straining his right hamstring on Oct. 5.
"I am ready to compete at the highest level," Stackhouse said.
Stackhouse often said during the summer that he wanted a chance to join LeBron James, Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, believing it would give him the best chance at winning his first NBA title.
Stackhouse was with the Mavericks when Wade carried Miami to the 2006 title in six games.
That was the series when Stackhouse became a bit of a villain in Miami, after he leveled Shaquille O'Neal in Game 4 and was forced by the NBA to sit out the next game. Wade jumped in O'Neal's way after the play to keep him from retaliating, but on Saturday, the MVP of those finals welcomed his newest teammate.
"He's a very productive player," Wade said Saturday, about an hour before Stackhouse completed the process of going through physicals and actually signing his deal. "He's a guy who's a matchup problem in the post. Also, he can stretch the floor, shoot the ball very well. It's a good option ... to be able to have the luxury of a guy like that out there that you can add to your team."
So in an offseason replete with huge moves by Miami - keeping Wade and Udonis Haslem, then adding James, Bosh, Miller and others - the Heat used the final weekend before Tuesday's regular-season opener to add one more All-Star name in Stackhouse.
He'll practice in Miami for the first time during what's expected to be a full-contact session on Sunday, then accompany the team to Boston on Monday afternoon.
"He's a proven guy, a proven in this league," James said. "A guy that can score, if he's in the starting lineup or even if he's coming off the bench."
Miami's roster is now at 17, meaning two moves will need to be made before getting down to the league-mandated total of 15.
Miller is recovering from a broken right thumb as well as ligament damage, hurting his shooting hand in a freak accident at practice Wednesday when he got tangled in a teammate's jersey during a post drill. He had surgery Friday, will remain in a cast for four weeks, then in a brace for a few more weeks, and the Heat don't expect him back on the court before January.
"Right now, we're short at that position, obviously, with Mike out," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We have James (Jones) really coming off the bench with size, and really that's it."
Stackhouse started with Philadelphia in 1995, and has also played with Detroit, Washington, Dallas and Milwaukee. He's a career 18.0 point-per-game scorer, though hasn't averaged more than 13.0 points in a season since 2004-05.