Veteran point guard Jarrett Jack is looking forward to a “new start” in Atlanta after a torn ACL cost him most of last season, writes Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com. Jack, who played in just 32 games for the Nets before suffering the injury in January, signed with the Hawks two weeks ago. Jack lives in Atlanta and played at Georgia Tech, so he said the city was an obvious destination. “I was flattered that they called and wanted to take a chance on me, knowing that I’m coming off knee surgery,” he said, “but I’m willing to prove to everybody that I’m more than capable of withstanding the physical challenges of the season and just contributing to the team.” Jack continues to rehab the knee and said he plans to be fully ready by the start of the season. He is about a month away from being cleared for full five-on-five basketball.
There’s more news from the Southeast Division:
- Developing chemistry is the next challenge in Orlando after this summer’s huge turnover, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The changes started with the hiring of coach Frank Vogel and continued through a revamped roster that has just six players back from the end of last season. The most notable additions for the Magic were Serge Ibaka, who was acquired in a draft night trade, and Bismack Biyombo and Jeff Green, who signed as free agents. “To me, chemistry and togetherness is something you earn, something you achieve and something you work towards by creating this culture where people like to come to work and people are playing for each other,” Vogel said. “You talk about selflessness and a team-first mentality. Whether we’ve been together for five years or are brand new to each other, every year you’ve got to work to achieve chemistry.”
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who lost DeAndre Jordan to a change of heart in free agency last summer, said he never tried to persuade Heat center Hassan Whiteside to reconsider before this year’s moratorium was lifted, relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Whiteside was Dallas’ top target in free agency, but he decided rather quickly to stay in Miami. “Never crossed our mind,” Cuban said in an interview with Dallas radio station 105.3-FM. “… We were happy with the direction we were going in and we had made our pitch to Hassan, but we didn’t really think he was going to leave and we didn’t go back to him and even bring it up.”
- Offseason signings have left the Heat with 11 players who are ineligible to be traded before December 15th, Winderman notes in the same piece. In addition to Whiteside, they are Wayne Ellington, Udonis Haslem, Stefan Jankovic, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder, Willie Reed, Dion Waiters, Okaro White and Derrick Williams.