Heat rookie Rodney Buford, who was found with a small amount of marijuana in Toronto last week, likely will not be fined by the team or the NBA, his agent said yesterday.
While officials of the Heat declined to comment, agent Craig McKenzie said discussions with the team have led him to believe his client will not be fined or suspended as a result of Wednesday night's incident. Canadian Customs agents stopped the 22-year-old Buford, a 6-foot-5 swingman out of Creighton, during a routine check when the Heat arrived in Toronto. The drug, which police described as a "very, very, very small" amount, was confiscated and the matter left to the team. Buford was not charged, but Heat Coach Pat Riley sent him home to South Florida. He missed games against Toronto and Chicago. The Heat was not scheduled to practice yesterday or today, though Buford was expected to rejoin the team and be in uniform for Tuesday night's game against Indiana.
Riley initially said Buford would be disciplined, but the NBA players association threatened to file a grievance if Buford were fined or suspended by the team or the league.
Buford has offered to take random drug tests to convince the Heat he is drug-free.
This is the first season in which NBA players are being tested for marijuana and steroids.