Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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CLEVELAND — Toney Douglas sits in front of his locker and stares straight ahead.
He is wearing headphones and appears oblivious to the pregame chaos around him.
Pro basketball is his job, and Douglas is all business.
“I’m an NBA player,” he told Amico Hoops. “I’m confident in everything I do.”
Once again, Douglas finds himself on the edge. For now, the uniform he wears belongs to the Cavaliers. He is here to audition for the role of filling the dozen or so available minutes behind point guard Kyrie Irving each night.
“I’m never surprised,” Douglas said, referring to the moment the Cavs brought him to training camp.
That happened Monday, about a week after camp began. Douglas took a physical and went over some plays. He joined practice Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he played the final 12 minutes of the Cavs’ 117-102 win over Orlando in the preseason opener. He scored a basket and passed for an assist.
Of all the players hoping to become Irving’s top caddy, only Douglas is 30 years old. The Cavs are his seventh team in eight seasons. His contract is not guaranteed.
So he is the senior candidate, the one with the best resume and overall experience when the idea is hired help.
“I’m a veteran player,” he said. “I can play defense, lock up, hit open shots, run the offense and find guys when they’re open. I can do all that.”
Douglas is 6-foot-2 and spent last season with New Orleans. He averaged 8.7 points and 2.6 assists in 61 games.
He has also run with New York, Golden State, Sacramento, Houston — and yes, LeBron James and James Jones with the 2013-14 Miami Heat.
Such acquaintances can go a long way in helping a person feel welcome.
“I feel like I fit in because I know most of the guys already,” Douglas said. “I’m very comfortable here.”
James appreciates what Douglas can offer.
“You know you’re getting a professional,” James said. “That’s what we like here. We like veteran guys.”
Added Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, “We like his pace and the tempo he plays with. He will pick up full-court and guard the basketball.”
Douglas also has a reputation for being very laid back, never getting caught up in the hype of the moment.
That’s a good quality with this team. Along with major stars such as James and Irving, the Cavs are coming off their first title. There is never any shortage of noise.
Douglas will tell you “it’s never a bad thing to play with the best player in the world,” but he is never in awe. He’s been around the game much too long for that.
Now, he is ready to take a stab at another team in another city, wearing another uniform in another role.
But all that and more is why Douglas believes he’s the man for the job.
“Most definitely,” he said. “The situation is always what you make it. It’s about making the most of your opportunities.”