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Carroll signs contract with Hawks

By Chris Vivlamore - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It took some time, but DeMarre Carroll finally is a Hawk.

Nearly a month after the small forward agreed to terms with the team he signed his contract Friday night.

Carroll announced the signing on Twitter as he wrote: “Now I can Officially say I’m a Atlanta Hawk. God has been better to me then I have been to myself! The Junkyarddog is on his way!!”

The Hawks waived veteran DeShawn Stevenson on Friday afternoon in a move that signaled the Carroll signing was imminent. The Hawks are expected to announce the signing Saturday.

Carroll agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract July 5, the same day the team agreed to a deal with his Jazz teammate Paul Millsap.

The waiving of Stevenson and the delay in the signing of Carroll were for salary-cap considerations as the Hawks rebuilt much of their roster this offseason. The Hawks were retaining the Bird rights for several of their unrestricted free agents this summer. Anthony Tolliver remains the only player who has not signed elsewhere or had his rights renounced.

Carroll, 6-foot-8, was selected in the first round (No. 27 overall) by the Grizzlies in the 2009 NBA draft out of Missouri. He averaged 6.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 66 games last season.

“He is a tough-nosed player,” Millsap told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month. “Very competitive. Every second he’s on the court he is going to give his all, diving for loose balls. He wants to guard the best offensive player. Just his grit and how he approaches the game.”

In four NBA seasons, the 27-year-old Carroll has career averages of 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.3 minutes. He figures to have an expanded role with the Hawks.

Stevenson, a veteran of 13 NBA seasons, was limited with the Hawks last season. The guard/forward could not play back-to-back games because of knee problems. He appeared in 56 games and averaged 5.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 20.7 minutes. Stevenson, who was scheduled to make $2,240,450 next season, becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The Hawks no longer have any of the five players obtained from the Nets — Stevenson, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar and Jordan Williams — in the Joe Johnson trade of July 11, 2012.

Hawks hire Thomas: The Hawks hired Jim Thomas as an assistant coach Friday, completing the staff of Mike Budenholzer.

Thomas, 52, most recently served as a college scout with the Thunder the past four years. He also was an assistant coach and scout with the Raptors and a scout with the Knicks.

“We’re pleased to add Jim to our coaching staff,” Budenholzer said in a statement. “He’s been a part of a number of successful programs, and his coaching and playing experience will blend well with our group.”

Thomas played in the NBA for the Pacers, Clippers and Timberwolves from 1983-90. He was drafted by the Pacers in the second round (No. 40 overall) of the 1983 NBA draft. He played two full seasons with the Pacers, when he averaged 5.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 152 games. He appeared in nine NBA games after that and played professionally in the World Basketball League, the Continental Basketball Association and in Spain.

Thomas played college basketball at Indiana, where he was the starting shooting guard on the 1981 national championship team. He was drafted in the 10th round of the 1983 NFL draft by the Packers as a defensive back.

Thomas joins Quin Snyder, Darvin Ham, Taylor Jenkins and Kenny Atkinson on the Hawks’ new staff. He will be a behind-the-bench assistant during games.

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