DeMarre Carroll is the newest member of the Hawks after signing a two-year deal with the team Saturday.
ATLANTA — DeMarre Carroll has issued a before-the-fact apology.
Those Hawks fans seated near the Philips Arena court should watch out for flying objects — namely Carroll himself. The newest Hawk is known for going after loose basketballs. It’s a trait that, in part, earned him the nickname Junkyard Dog.
“I do all the little things,” Carroll told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Los Angeles. “If I dive in the crowd and land on one of the fans, I want to say sorry right now. It’s the way I play.”
The Hawks officially announced the signing of Carroll to a two-year deal Saturday, one day after the free-agent small forward inked his deal. The Hawks also announced that they requested waivers on DeShawn Stevenson, a move made Friday that cleared the way for the Carroll signing.
“DeMarre is a great fit for our program,” general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement.
Ferry continued: “He is an unselfish, highly competitive player. His versatility in defending multiple positions will make him a valuable contributor to our basketball team.”
Carroll, 27, agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract July 5, but the team waited to announce the signing for salary-cap reasons as it continued to rebuild a roster. Carroll said he drew interest from five other teams as an unrestricted free agent. He ultimately agreed to join the Hawks because of the interest shown by coach Mike Budenholzer and the expanded role the four-year player will have with the Hawks.
Carroll said Budenholzer told him at a lunch meeting that he envisions the forward playing roles similar to former and current Spurs Bruce Bowen and Kawhi Leonard, respectively.
“This is the best opportunity I’ve had since I’ve been in the league. It’s really an opportunity for me to expand my role, get consistent minutes. That was the key factor in coming to the Hawks. There were a lot of teams that really wanted me, but coach Budenholzer and Danny Ferry really sold me on me being a priority on the team rather than just being another number.”
Carroll, 6-foot-8, was selected in the first round (No. 27 overall) by the Grizzlies in the 2009 NBA draft out of Missouri. He began his college career at Vanderbilt but transferred to Missouri because his uncle, Mike Anderson, was the head coach.
Carroll also played for the Rockets and Nuggets before the Jazz, where he posted career highs last season in points (6.0), rebounds (2.8), assists (0.9), steals (0.9), minutes (16.8) and starts (12). He played in 66 games, scoring 10 or more points 15 times (the Jazz were 11-4 in those games) and playing at least 20 minutes on 27 occasions.
“When the coach wants you, that’s the biggest thing,” Carroll said. “The GM could want you, but the coach might not want you. When the coach wants you and appreciates what you bring to the table, you can’t feel anything but blessed. This was another step for me to become a great player in this league. It’s another opportunity to expand my role.”
Carroll is working out this offseason in Los Angeles. He said he expects to arrive in Atlanta by the end of August.
The Birmingham, Ala., native is glad to be back to his southern roots -- with southern food -- and have his family in close proximity to watch him play consistent minutes.
Carroll said he has suffered no ill effects from the liver disease that was diagnosed in college and could one day lead to a transplant. He said he visits his doctors once a year.
“It’s just another obstacle you have to face in your life,” Carroll said. “Right now, everything is good. God has been good to me. My doctors have been good to me. I feel better than ever.”