Khem Birch chooses division rival over Wizards

Khem Birch chooses division rival over Wizards
September 2, 2014, 3:15 pm
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(USA TODAY Sports)

Khem Birch appreciated the opportunity with the Wizards. The former UNLV product also recognized his best chance to make an NBA roster no longer existed in Washington.

Birch has committed to join the Miami Heat, according to Birch's agent, Mike George, who spoke with on Tuesday.

The Wizards organization liked the shot blocking big man and hoped he would join them for training camp after he shined on their summer league team.

Washington added Birch to its summer league roster after the 6-foot-9 forward-center went undrafted in June. Birch impressed immediately with his rebounding effort and defensive presence to the point it seemed logical that he could make the Wizards' opening game roster.

Then the Wizards acquired veterans Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair. Then Kevin Seraphin signed his qualifying offer.

Combined with Marcin Gortat, Nene and Drew Gooden, Washington sports a deep interior rotation. Even though one spot remains available on the 15-man roster, the odds of another big man making the squad are slim.

Miami is reshaping its roster following the departure of LeBron James to Cleveland. The Heat lack young and agile big men behind Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts and Chris Andersen.

Birch received a guaranteed camp invitation and some guaranteed money from the Heat, according to George.

"[Khem] loved the team, the coaches, the opportunity," George said of the Wizards, "but they obviously added some big guys this offseason. Washington wanted him for camp, but understood he had a better opportunity to make a roster elsewhere."

The Wizards will open training camp later this month. Whether they fill the 15th spot at the time or before the season tips remains to be seen.  

Hoops Hype Canada first reported the Heat's addition of Birch.

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