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Atlanta Hawks Officially Sign DeMarre Carroll

The Atlanta Hawks have officially signed small forward DeMarre Carroll, the organization announced Saturday.

DeMarre broke the news himself Friday night when he tweeted about the signing:

“DeMarre is a great fit for our program,” GM Danny Ferry said in a statement. “He is an unselfish, highly competitive player. His versatility in defending multiple positions will make him a valuable contributor to our basketball team.”

Atlanta acquired Carroll on July 5, the same day they acquired his Utah Jazz teammate Paul Millsap, however, the Hawks had to wait until they requested waivers on DeShawn Stevenson before they could make the Carroll signing official.

The Hawks quickly inked Millsap to a two-year, $19 million deal on July 10, but had yet to do the same with Carroll, whose deal was worth a reported $5 million over two years. It is now clear that Atlanta was just waiting to cut ties with Stevenson, who was scheduled to make $2,240,450 next season (almost the exact amount his replacement will be earning per year), before officially signing Carroll.

Carroll, 6’8” and 212 lbs, played his first two years of college basketball at Vanderbilt University (2004-06). After a successful sophomore year, he shocked the team when he decided to transfer to Missouri in 2006 to play for his uncle Mike Anderson.

When Carroll got to Missouri, however, he faced a serious health scare. He complained of itchy legs, and was convinced that he was suffering from an allergy. But after he was examined by several specialists, they came up with a considerably more serious diagnosis — liver disease. It was ultimately determined that Carroll would possibly need a liver transplant, but not for at least 20 years after his diagnosis and most likely after the end of his basketball career. Carroll was also shot in the ankle during a domestic dispute at a nightclub in Columbia, Missouri on July 5, 2007.

Despite the health issues, DeMarre led Missouri to the Elite Eight of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament during his senior year. He was nicknamed the “Junkyard Dog” for his hustle.

Carroll, 27, was drafted in the first round (27th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. He played primarily off the bench during his tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies. On February 24, 2011, Carroll was traded with Hasheem Thabeet to the Houston Rockets for Shane Battier. Two months later, he was waived by the Rockets. In December of 2011, the Denver Nuggets made Carroll a non-guaranteed training camp invitee. He appeared in four games with the Nuggets during the 2011-12 regular season before being waived on February 4, 2012. Four days later, Carroll signed with the Utah Jazz. In his two seasons with Utah, DeMarre appeared in 86 games with 21 starts.

Carroll averaged 6.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game, while shooting 28.6% from the arc, 46.0% from the field overall and 76.5% from the foul line last season with the Jazz.

With the Hawks next season, Carroll will have an expanded role backing up sharpshooter Kyle Korver at the small forward position and also being the team’s defensive specialist.

“[DeMarre] is a tough-nosed player,” Paul 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.”

Rejoice Hawks fans, the Junkyard Dog is now in Atlanta!

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