Toney Douglas signs free agent deal with Pacers, says ‘I know I’m here for a reason’

Toney Douglas is a journeyman just hoping for a soft landing. Better yet, the right landing. By now, those around the league know his game and so he was looking for a team with the right opportunity.

Douglas found that in the Pacers and on Tuesday the free agent guard signed with the organization. It’s no easy task, but now he must show how he fits in with this bunch, a bunch that must work on its chemistry from Day 1.

“I see it as seize the moment,” Douglas said Tuesday. “Blessed to be able to be here in Indiana.”

The terms of the deal aren’t immediately clear, as both Douglas and his representative declined to provide details.

Later Tuesday, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reported that Douglas is guaranteed half of his league-minimum deal ($1.2 million). And, if he makes the regular-season roster, another $275,000 becomes guaranteed.

That is a high price to pay to bring a player to camp, which suggests they are really interested in him and their willing to eat the cost of one of the extra players or they’ll make a trade.

Indiana already has a full roster, with 15 players fully guaranteed through the 2015-16 season. But teams can bring an additional five players to training camp and keep on their roster until the end of October. Douglas is No. 16.

[2015-16 NBA schedule to be unveiled Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. ET]

Bird, in the news release announcing the signing, hints that Douglas signed a training camp deal.

“We look forward to having him in camp,” the Pacers President of Basketball Operations said. “He’s a veteran player who’s a good pro and he can play two positions. He’s the type of player we’re looking for with our new style of play. We look forward to working with him and having him in camp.”

The Pacers don’t have any true point guards on their roster and Douglas isn’t one, either. At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Douglas’ build is very similar to George Hill and Joe Young.

At 29 years old, Douglas will be the second-oldest player to come to camp behind only Monta Ellis, who turns 30 in October.

“I think that it is a great opportunity,” Douglas continued. “I feel I can bring veteran leadership on the defensive end and the offensive end. Going into my seventh year, I feel like we take our defense to another level.”

Free agent guard Toney Douglas signed with the Pacers on Tuesday.

Free agent guard Toney Douglas signed with the Pacers on Tuesday.

Douglas started his collegiate career at Auburn and then transferred to Florida State (2006-09), where he was named First Team All-ACC and ACC Defensive Player of the Year for his senior campaign. Although he says he can play both point guard and shooting guard, there is more of a need at the point with the Pacers.

In signing with the Indiana, Douglas is reunited with Donnie Walsh, a longtime executive with the franchise and now a consultant. Back in 2009, Walsh, then the President of the New York Knicks, took a chance on Douglas when he sent $3 million and a second-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for the rights to Douglas, the 29th overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Douglas said that Walsh being with the Pacers influenced his decision to come here.

“I love Donnie,” he said as his face lit up. “Donnie has always been a great guy. I loved him when I was in New York. Him being here was really a great situation. I trust him. He’s not going to lie to you; he’s going to keep it real and tell you what you need to do.”

Besides New York, where he played his first three seasons, Douglas had stints with Houston, Sacramento, Golden State, Miami, and New Orleans.

After spending about four months playing in Nanjing, China — about 30 minutes from Shanghai — Douglas returned to the United States in 2015 and joined New Orleans, who needed a point guard as Jrue Holiday missed significant time with an ankle injury. Initially, he signed a 10-day contract with the Pelicans, and then another before latching on for the rest of the season.

While in New Orleans, Douglas played 177 minutes total in a dozen games, and he averaged 4.3 points and 2.0 assists while playing 14.8 minutes per game. But on July 31, New Orleans waived him.

With Douglas signed, the Pacers’ roster is split right down the middle: eight returnees, eight newcomers. (Not to mention there are three rookies on board.)

Douglas is playing from behind, as the other 15 players are getting paid next season regardless. It’s unlikely the team would waive rookies Joe Young and Rakeem Christmas. Glenn Robinson III, a 6-6 guard is a possible candidate if he does not impress during training camp, which commences on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

“They know I defend and obviously can score,” said Douglas. “We really haven’t got into detail [about] me being here, but I know I’m here for a reason. Once training camp starts, I’ll show what I am capable of doing.”

Douglas plans to spend the next two weeks in Indianapolis working out, and then he’ll go back to Orlando for more training. After Labor Day, he plans to return to town to get prepared for camp and the preseason, where he’ll have to stand out in some fashion.

(Sidenote: No need to go look Douglas up on Twitter. He doesn’t use the social media platform.)

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