Miami Heat news: Heat prospect goes from China team to China tour

A Thursday game in Beijing followed by a Sunday game in Shanghai.

For the Miami Heat, it's all part of a preseason whirlwind, with the games against the Los Angeles Clippers in China merely a pair of exhibitions.

But for Heat camp hopeful Rodney Carney, just a year ago this was his way of life.

While the week in China is as much about fun as games for the Heat, it brings Carney, the veteran NBA swingman, back to where he toiled last season, as a member of the Liaoning Dinosaurs.

Bypassing the wait for possible work during the 2011 NBA lockout, Carney, who previously had played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies, opted for a season in the Chinese Basketball Association.

To a degree, that makes this week a homecoming, having played last season against Stephon Marbury 's Beijing Ducks and the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks. The difference is this week's exhibitions will be played in NBA-level arenas instead of the smaller gyms utilized by the Chinese Basketball Association.

"These are diehard fans," Carney said of the crowds he played in front of last season. "There are more NBA fans than you think."

While Carney traveled on a team last season that included veteran NBA forward Josh Powell, he said showing up alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen is a completely different experience.

"It's rock-star status," he said, "because that's the way the Chinese are when it comes to big athletes.

"Even when I was playing, they had J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler, and they swarmed them like rock stars."

While the trip to China brings back memories, they're not all necessarily fond. Being out of view of the NBA for five months essentially removed the 6-foot-7 forward from NBA radar, which left him scrambling for a spot in Heat camp, the last of the 20 players to receive an invitation.

"I just wanted to get a new feel, so that's why I decided on China," he said. "The lockout looked like it wasn't good, so it was, 'OK, maybe I can make this move and then come back and get on a roster.' Then, it was kind of difficult to get back."

Carney and the Heat arrived in China shortly before 10 p.m. Beijing time (10 a.m. Eastern) Monday, after a 14 1/2-hour flight from Sunday's exhibition in Atlanta that took them over the top of the globe.

The team was given the rest of Monday off, with a Tuesday schedule that includes a 9 a.m. practice at the MasterCard Center in Beijing and a six-hour tour of the Great Wall that begins at noon. The Clippers will make a separate trip to the Great Wall on Tuesday.

The 12-hour time difference clearly will require an adjustment, with Wade posting on his Twitter account at 1:38 a.m. Beijing time that he was going for a workout, and with point guard Mario Chalmers posting on his Twitter account upon arrival, "14-hour flight to China. I swear I slept 11 hours. I ain't getting no sleep tonight."


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