Nets reach buyout with Alston

Rafer Alston(notes) has agreed to a contract buyout with the New Jersey Nets and the Miami Heat have emerged as a frontrunner to sign the point guard after he clears waivers, sources told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday.

Alston came to New Jersey in the Vince Carter(notes) trade in June, but has been anxious to flee the 3-30 Nets to play for a contender. Heat president Pat Riley had identified Alston earlier this season as a veteran point guard who could help stabilize his backcourt, sources said. Still, several other contenders are believed to have an interest in Alston.

To possibly free up payroll flexibility to sign Alston, the Heat have also agreed to trade point guard Chris Quinn and a 2012 conditional second-round pick to the Nets. The Nets will send a $1.3 million trade exception and 2010 second-rounder to Miami.

The deal helps lower the Heat’s luxury-tax bill. They could further reduce salary if they decide to cut point guard Carlos Arroyo, who is making $825,497.

Alston is expected to clear waivers at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Adrian Wojnarowski is the NBA columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Adrian a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Tuesday, Jan 5, 2010