MIAMI -- The contract suggests Chris Andersen has little time for patience.
That doesn't mean the Miami Heat's newest acquisition is in a rush. After being signed to a 10-day contract Sunday, Andersen said he will take his time adapting to his new surroundings. The initial talks between he and coach Erik Spoelstra mostly centered on easing Andersen into the rotation.
"He didn't just want to throw me in the mix right away," Andersen said. "Of course, I got to get down the offense. I don't want to be struggling and get out there and just go blank and mess everybody up ... I want to be eased into it."
The first step for the 6-foot-10 Andersen, a 10-year veteran, is to work his way back into playing shape. He said his conditioning is at about 75 percent, not quite the player who was known for his energy during his playing days with the Denver Nuggets. Andersen's last game was March 25 when he logged five minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"It won't take long," Andersen said. "I've been in the league for a while. I know what it takes to get back to where I need to be."
Still, the Heat are thinking more long-term with Andersen. Spoelstra said it will take at least "three or four weeks" before they can gauge Andersen. He is the latest project to join the Heat around the midseason point. In 2010, they signed Erick Dampier and Mike Bibby after the season began. Last year they added Ronny Turiaf.
Dampier started 22 games before falling out of the rotation during the playoffs. Bibby and Turiaf also saw time in the starting lineup, but were later used off the bench. Spoelstra said he is unsure where Andersen, nicknamed the Birdman, fits into the mix.
The thinking behind the acquisition was Andersen helping the Heat become a better rebounding team. Miami ranks last in the league in rebounding at 38.8 a game. After originally saying he felt the team had enough on the current roster, Spoelstra said Andersen alone won't solve the problem.
"My approach with the team has been the same," Spoelstra said. "Getting Chris' ability to rebound, which he's proven for over a decade, that's not the answer to us finishing our defense. It's our mentality. We've proven that we can do it. He'll assist and help us in that regard."
Spoelstra said Andersen has already began picking things up defensively, which is where he will be valued the most. He's averaged 1.6 blocks a game throughout his career, including a personal-best 2.5 in 2008-09.
"He's a guy who plays with a lot of energy," guard Dwyane Wade said. "When you get a jump-starter, it's always good. It's just adding a little extra punch to our team. (Defense) is where he's comfortable at. That's probably going to be the easiest part."
Added Spoelstra: "Defensively, he seems to pick it up pretty quickly. We scrimmaged again (Monday) and he's got good instincts. We'll see. Obviously, we're going to have to be patient. It's just new to us. There's plenty of time to work it out."
Spoelstra also said there were no concerns about Andersen's character. Andersen was barred from the league for a little more than two years because of substance-abuse issues. He also had his home in Colorado searched last May in an investigation described as Internet-related crimes against children.
The Heat said they spoke with several of the staff members in Denver, including coach George Karl, before even beginning their pursuit of Andersen. He first worked out for the Heat last week.
"Obviously, we do our due diligence always with players," Spoelstra said. "We had an opportunity to talk to several people on their staff, coach Karl, a couple of their assistant coaches, front office. They all had a great experience with him. It says something when your former organization thinks highly of you."