Basketball / Sports

Toney Douglas signs to play in China; Heat looking at Leandro Barbosa

MIAMI -- The Heat continue to distance themselves from some of last season's roster in the wake of LeBron James' free-agency departure to Cleveland.

The latest member of last season's roster to relocate is point guard Toney Douglas, who has signed to play with the Jiangsu Dragons, the Chinese Basketball Association team that previously featured current Heat center Chris Andersen.

Douglas was squeezed out by the drafting of UConn point guard Shabazz Napier and the decision to re-sign starting point guard Mario Chalmers. The return of Norris Cole leaves the Heat with three point guards heading into the late-September start of training camp.

Previously departing the Heat from last season's roster were forward James Jones, who signed with the Cavaliers; forward Shane Battier, who has retired to an analyst position with ESPN; and forward Rashard Lewis, who signed with the Mavericks only to fail a physical there, with Dallas indicating a willingness to eventually revisit the collaboration.

In addition, Heat free-agent guard Ray Allen is expected to eventually sign with the Cavaliers; center Greg Oden is not expected to be invited back amid his legal issues; and the Heat have shown little indication of bringing back free-agent forward Michael Beasley, with his No. 8 already issued to recently added forward Shawne Williams.

Douglas was added by the Heat on Jan. 15 from the Warriors in the three-team trade that allowed the Heat to deal the contract of center Joel Anthony to the Celtics. He appeared in 27 games for the Heat this past season, including 17 starts, often utilized as the starting shooting guard on nights Dwyane Wade was given off as part of the team's maintenance program.

Douglas then appeared in 10 playoff games, mostly mop-up time, playing only 29 postseason minutes.

The Dragons will be Douglas' sixth team in five seasons, having previously played over that span for the Knicks, Rockets, Kings, Warriors and Heat. His deal in China has been reported at $1 million for one season.

Free-agent guard Leandro Barbosa, who currently is working with the Brazil national team in advance of the World Cup in hopes of showcasing his game for an NBA return, has drawn interest from the Heat.

A source familiar with the situation said Barbosa is on the Heat's radar, but is one of several veterans the Heat are considering, with no signing imminent.

Barbosa, 31, had an uneven 31-game stint last season with the Suns. A combo guard, he could potentially address the Heat's lack of veteran experience behind Wade, with journeyman free agent Reggie Williams recently signed to add depth at the position. Heat President Pat Riley has also mentioned Chalmers as an option for minutes at shooting guard.

The Heat have only the veteran minimum to offer any free agent.

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