How much did the Miami Heat want Juwan Howard's veteran presence back in their locker room for another championship drive?

Enough that to clear the room needed to open the roster spot utilized to sign Howard to a 10-day contract Saturday, they traded Dexter Pittman, a second-round pick and $100,000 last week to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The veteran power forward, who has been around the team almost the entire season although not under contract in any formal position, brings the Heat back to the NBA maximum of 15 players.

At 40, Howard becomes the oldest player to play for the Heat in the franchise's 25 seasons.

"Juwan is a key part of the championship culture here in Miami," Heat President Pat Riley said in a statement. "He is essential to this team and can still play this game at a high level in some of our biggest games yet to come. He has a unique veteran savvy and will provide leadership and experience to our team."