NBA PM: Jamaal Tinsley Revives Career
One year ago, Jamaal Tinsley was in LA Fitness doing two-a-days. He was training in Atlanta, preparing to make his comeback. It had been over a year since he had last played in the NBA, but he was only 33 years old. When he wasn’t working out, he would watch NBA games and see the same players that he used to run circles around.
“It was difficult, knowing you can still be out there and competing with the best of them,” Tinsley said. “I got up early every day and worked out. I did lots of shooting and lots of conditioning. I maintained a healthy diet and watched tons of basketball.”
After months of hard work and a stint with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League, Tinsley made his way back onto a roster. He received interest from a number of teams, but ultimately signed a one-year-deal with the Utah Jazz.
This season, Tinsley has been a class act in Utah. He has emerged as a leader for the Jazz and has been extremely vocal with his young teammates. Al Jefferson gave him the nickname “The Voice” since he’s always yelling at the group during games and practices.
He has also led by example, showing up to training camp in excellent shape and accepting his role. He only appeared in 12 games prior to the All-Star break, but he remained professional and vocal. Tinsley cheered on his teammates and offered advice from the bench.
“There are some things you can’t control, but you can control staying in shape, eating healthy and producing when your number is called,” Tinsley said.
Since the All-Star break, Earl Watson has been sidelined with an ankle injury and Tinsley has stepped up in his absence. He is averaging 6.9 points and 4 assists in 16.4 minutes. When given the opportunity to start, he posted 9 points, 13 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. As Tinsley believed last year, he still has plenty left in the tank and can contribute when given the opportunity.
“I’m playing with a group of guys who understand the game and they want to get better,” Tinsley said. “They make my job easy when I’m on the court.”
Utah has won four straight games and the team is playing well as they make a push for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Tinsley has been effective backing up Devin Harris, providing a spark off the bench and displaying his tremendous court vision.
On Tuesday night, the Jazz defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 97-90. The highlight of the night was when Tinsley dribbled between Nazr Mohammad’s legs and knocked down an open jumper. The play electrified the home crowd and shifted the momentum in Utah’s favor.
“It was nice, but the win was even better,” Tinsley said.
Tinsley has become a significant contributor for the Jazz, who are just a half game out of the playoff picture in the West. This season, he has shown that he can still compete at this level. He belongs in an NBA arena, not in an LA Fitness gym.
Celtics Nearing Deal With Hollins: The Boston Celtics are on the verge of signing free agent center Ryan Hollins, according to sources close to the situation. Hollins was recently waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics’ had spent the past week searching for a big man, but landing a quality player wasn’t easy.
After losing Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Wilcox for the remainder of the season, Boston expressed interest in nearly every available center and power forward. However, the pool of available bigs was drying up.
Ronny Turiaf signed with the Miami Heat. J.J. Hickson was claimed off of waivers by the Portland Trail Blazers. Chris Kaman likely won’t be bought out by the New Orleans Hornets.
The Celtics considered signing Josh Powell or Kyrylo Fesenko, but ultimately decided that Hollins was the right fit. Over the course of Hollins’ six-year career, he has averaged 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds. The two sides are expected to finalize a deal in the next 24 hours.
Wafer Remains Professional in Orlando: Von Wafer has fallen out of Stan Van Gundy’s rotation, but the 26-year-old hasn’t asked the Orlando Magic for a buyout. He wants to make things work in Orlando and is working hard to move back up the depth chart.
Wafer was recently deactivated and rumors began to surface that the Magic may waive him. However, Wafer’s camp hasn’t asked to be bought out and they expect the shooting guard to finish the season in Orlando.
On Thursday, there was a report saying that the Italian team Milano would express interest in Wafer should he be waived. However, sources close to the Wafer say that he wants to remain in the NBA. If the Magic do decide to waive Wafer, expect him to sign with another NBA team.
Warriors Sign Gladness: The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent center Mickell Gladness to a 10-day contract, the team announced today. The Warriors signed Gladness after missing out on J.J. Hickson, who was claimed off of waivers by the Portland Trail Blazers. Hickson and the Warriors were ready to finalize a contract when they learned of Portland’s unexpected move.
Gladness, 25, made his NBA debut this season as a member of the Miami Heat, appearing in eight games over two different stints with the club. The 6’11” center made the Heat’s opening night roster and appeared in three games before being waived on February 7. He subsequently signed the first of two 10-day contracts with the Heat on February 12 and signed the second 10-day contract on February 28.
Gladness, who will wear #32, is scheduled to be in uniform for the team’s game tonight at Houston.
HOOPSWORLD Chats: There are two NBA chats on today’s schedule. Steve Kyler’s wrapped up his weekly NBA rumors chat earlier today. Senior NBA writer Joel Brigham hosted his weekly NBA chat at 1:30 p.m. EST. Check out those chat transcripts or find the next chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats.