Utah Jazz sign veteran Jamaal Tinsle,y but waive five others
On Friday morning in New York, Jamaal Tinsley dropped his son off at school, probably for the last time in awhile.
Twenty-four hours later, Tinsley strolled onto the practice court at the Utah Jazz's training facility to start preparing for an NBA season he didn't know would happen.
Tinsley, 35, has been a free agent since the Jazz's season ended last April. As part of a major roster reconstruction project, he was not immediately re-signed.
The situation changed Saturday, however, when Utah announced Tinsley was returning.
Good news for the 10-year NBA veteran.
Good news for his son.
"He was happy," Tinsley said, recalling their trip to school before his flight to Utah. "â¦ He was like, 'Dad, don't worry about it. You have a job now.' So it was good."
As the Jazz welcomed Tinsley, they also cut their roster to the NBA maximum of 15 by releasing five free agents: Brian Cook, Lester Hudson, Dominic McGuire, Scott Machado and Justin Holiday.
"It's just where we are," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "Cutting a guy is a difficult thing to do. It's always tough. We really appreciate all those guys coming in and working their tail off. â¦ [But] the guys we kept are just a better fit with there we're at right now."
According to Corbin, injuries will likely mean the Jazz start the season Wednesday night against Oklahoma City with 11 available players.
Rookie Trey Burke (finger surgery), Marvin Williams (Achilles surgery), Brandon Rush (knee surgery) and Jeremy Evans (rotator cuff) won't be ready for the opener.
Burke's uncertain status is one reason the Jazz signed Tinsley. Along with veteran John Lucas, he gives them two experienced point guards.
"We're excited to have him back," Corbin said. "He's familiar with what we're doing and â¦ we need him to help organize our young group. â¦
"Where we are, we need a point. Nothing against the guys we've had here. I thought they did a good job. But we needed to shore up the position with Trey being out."
Burke could be out "weeks" into the regular season, Corbin said. "â¦ We'll just have to see how his finger responds to therapy."
In the meantime, Corbin's choice as the starter comes down to Tinsley or Lucas.
In the last two years with the Jazz, Tinsley played 103 games and made 33 starts. Last season, he averaged 3.5 points and 4.4 assists in 18.5 minutes.
"I'm comfortable with the organization â¦ and the system," said Tinsley, whose goal is "to just help make these guys better. Just be the same guy who's been there the last two years."
As he worked out and stayed in shape during the summer, was he concerned about finding a team this season?
"Not at all," Tinsley said, smiling. "I've been through way tougher things in my life than this. I'm blessed to get the opportunity to play basketball. I'd do this for free. I've been running up and down the court the last four [or] five months without a job. â¦ So it wasn't frustrating."
Tinsley in Utah
Jamaal Tinsley's previous statistics with the Jazz:
Season Gms Starts Min Pts Reb Ast 2011-12 37 1 13.7 3.3 1.2 3.3
2012-13 66 32 18.5 4.4 1.7 4.4