Diante Garrett was smiling like a man who had just been guaranteed a lot of money before the Jazz practiced Wednesday morning.
Garrett is Utah’s backup point guard who was signed out of the NBA Development League on Nov. 13 after veteran Jamaal Tinsley was waived.
Garrett has played well for the Jazz. In fact, has taken over as their primary backup behind rookie starter Trey Burke.
Still, Garrett nervously was watching the clock Tuesday, when teams had to waive players by 5 p.m. if they did not want to guarantee their contracts for the rest of the season.
“I tried not to think about it too much,” he said. “But it was in the back of my mind. … When 5 o’clock came, I just prayed to God.”
As the deadline passed and his $788,000 deal with the Jazz became guaranteed, Garrett started receiving phone calls and texts from family members and friends.
“My mom called me saying, ‘Thank God, my baby,’” he said, grinning and laughing.
Garrett averages 3.1 points and 2.2 assists in 26 games for the Jazz.
“He has shown himself well,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He’s a good team player and he has a chance to keep getting better.”
What’s the fuss?
Thunder coach Scott Brooks was slapped with a technical foul for charging onto the court and screaming at the officials during the fourth quarter of Utah’s 112-101 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
It turns out Brooks was complaining about the behavior of long-time season-ticket holder Richard Anderson, who sits under the basket near the Jazz bench.
For years, Anderson has done his best to distract opposing players while they shoot free throws. He’s been admonished by a handful of officials along the way. Dick Bavetta once had him temporarily removed from the arena.
Anderson tossed a basketball high into the air behind the backboard while Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson was making one of two free throws with 10 minutes, 16 seconds left in the Jazz-Thunder game.
Brooks saw Anderson and raced down the court, drawing the technical foul.
The Thunder were awarded two more free throws moments later. This time, an official approached Anderson and told him to stop taunting the shooter.
The Jazz’s Richard Jefferson didn’t understand all the fuss.
“It was just a fun NBA night,” he said. “The guys in the crowd — the fans — were amazing tonight. That was one of the loudest games that we have had here. It was great. They definitely helped us get this win.
“The extracurricular stuff that was going on behind the basket, that’s silly. We’ve been dealing with this since we were 15-16 years old — going to opposing crowds and have fans throw stuff. I’ve been in games where people were throwing stuff at our bench. I think when you [complain about] that, you start to look for excuses. Our fans did a good job.”
Just after Brooks’ technical foul, the Jazz’s Enes Kanter got one after bumping Jackson on a drive to the basket and complaining.
What did Kanter say?
“‘Come on, man,’” he said. “That’s what I said. ‘Come on, man.’ … That cost me $2,500.”
Said Corbin, “I thought it was a little cheap. … We’ll probably ask [the NBA] to look at it.”
According to Kanter, the call gave him motivation to finish off the Thunder.
“After I get that technical foul, I said, ‘You know what, I want to win this game. Seriously,’” Kanter said.
Jazz notes » Backup point guard has contract guaranteed for remainder of the season.
By Steve Luhm
| The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Jan 08 2014 02:13 pm • Last Updated Mar 24 2014 11:32 pm