It’s official — Heat sign Ronny Turiaf for rest of season

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UPDATE 4:55 pm: It is official, Ronny Turiaf is a member of the Miami Heat. Let the sideline cheering begin.

The Heat had made runs at bigger name big men this season — Kenyon Martin when he returned from China, Joel Przybilla, others — but this gives them a little more depth up front. He will play behind Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem in the rotation, but he can give them some good defense and hustle for 15 minutes a night.

Turiaf was drafted out of Gonzaga by the Los Angeles Lakers but had to miss his rookie season due to surgery to repair an enlarged heart. He played a couple seasons in Los Angeles followed by stints with the Warriors, Knicks and this season the Wizards.

2:53 pm: Looks like the Heat are going to be adding a little depth to the front line. And a good bench cheering section.

The Heat are close to a deal with Ronny Turiaf, reports our own Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel via twitter.

Agent Mark Bartelstein confirms to Sun Sentinel the Heat are close to signing Ronny Turiaf. “We’re working toward that,” Bartelstein said.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo also reports the sides are close.

This would be a nice pickup — not something that puts them over the top, but provides some needed depth along the front line of a team that had to start Dexter Pittman Tuesday night. Turiaf will bring energy, he only shoots pretty high efficiency shots, he defends hard, he rebounds, you can get a good 15 minutes out of him a night. The guys in the locker room and the fans will like him. He’s solid.

Turaif had been with the Wizards but was traded to Denver as part of the Nene/JaVale McGee swap. The Nuggets promptly bought Turiaf out.