Jackson-for-Harrington Official

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

The long-awaited Stephen Jackson sign-and-trade with Indiana for forward Al Harrington was officially consummated and Harrington couldn't be happier to be joining a rebuilding franchise. Atlanta GM Billy Knight helped draft Harrington back in Indiana and is looking forward to letting him develop with big minutes. Meanwhile, Philadelphia assistant coach Bob Bender may become an assistant in Atlanta. And on the latest great news with a great attitude front, Atlanta captain Alan Henderson is declaring himself healthy for the first time in a long time.

Henderson has had his doubters, among whom he includes former coach Terry Stotts. Henderson got the feeling that Stotts didn't believe he was really injured. In the spring, however, a chiropractor noticed he had a torn disc. "No wonder you're not getting better," Henderson said the chiropractor told him, recounting the story toThe Atlanta Journal Constitution. From that point on, the doctors and Henderson treated his body in a different way. And now he's back with a vengeance, ready to take on all doubters.

It's a great time for good things to come together. If the 6-9 Henderson can return to his 1997-1998 form of 14 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, which earned him the Most Improved Player award, and 6-9 Al Harrington can find his role playing power forward, then the Hawks have some reason to smile.

Boris Diaw is only going to get better, and Jason Terry is a consistent performer. Josh Childress will be able to step right into the game. The Hawks are already fielding a team that has some chance to win some games. What they most need right now is a big-time free agent. But Shaq is in Miami and the availability of big names seems to be dwindling. Kenyon Martin has turned them down in favor of a sign-and-trade with Denver. Kobe was never even really an option. The window of opportunity is fading.

The Hawks will participate in the Reebok Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City, Utah from July 16-24. Their first game will be versus the expansion Charlotte Bobcats tonight, Friday July 16th at 4:00 p.m. EDT/2:00 p.m. MDT. Other teams participating in the RMR include the Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Sonics, and host Utah Jazz. The remainder of their RMR schedule is as follows:

*Friday, July 16th - Charlotte - 4:00 p.m. EDT
*Saturday, July 17th - Seattle - 6:00 p.m. EDT
*Sunday, July 18th - Bye
*Monday, July 19th - Phoenix - 4:00 p.m. EDT
*Tuesday, July 20th - Dallas - 6:00 p.m. EDT
*Wednesday, July 21st - Bye
*Thursday, July 22nd - Utah - 10:00 p.m. EDT
*Friday, July 23rd - Bye
*Saturday, July 24th - Portland - 4:00 p.m. EDT

You can read some of Harrington's quotes from his press conference here.


Phil Jasner ofThe Philadelphia Inquirerwrites: There is reason to believe Bob Bender, an assistant coach with the Sixers the last two seasons, will become an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks.Since the end of last season, Bender has worked in the Sixers' front office. He was rumored to join Larry Brown's staff with Detroit, but instead is expected to be named to first-year coach Mike Woodson's staff with the Hawks.

Curtis Bunn ofThe Atlanta Journal Constitution: The Hawks completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Indiana Pacers for forward Al Harrington Thursday, a day after signing a 7-footer whose assignment will now include battling Shaquille O'Neal, who was officially traded to the Miami Heat Wednesday.Harrington, who averaged 13.3 points and 6.4 rebounds for Indiana, will join a frontcourt that will include 7-footer Jason Collier. The former Georgia Tech center, who played 20 games with the Hawks last season — averaging 11.3 points and 5.6 rebounds — on Wednesday signed a two-year deal that will pay him salaries of $1.5 million this season and $1.65 million next.

Curtis Bunn ofThe Atlanta Journal Constitution: Alan Henderson is fired up, and he's not going to take it anymore.The Hawks veteran, who has battled injuries much of his career, has heard the incessant criticism from fans and media — and even troubling innuendo from his former coach — and has vowed to do something about it. On the court. "I'm on a mission," Henderson said after a workout Wednesday at Philips Arena. "There have been a lot of guys knocking me. I'm going to use it as motivation. I've got some things to prove." The 6-foot-9 Henderson missed much of last season with back pain he said was first diagnosed as a sprain. He worked hard to return, only to be sidelined by additional discomfort. All the while, Henderson said he got the feeling from then-coach Terry Stotts that he did not believe the forward really was injured. 

The Associated Press writes inAccess North Georgia:Jackson said he was ecstatic to be playing in Indiana with associate head coach Mike Brown, who helped him mature into a well-rounded player in San Antonio after a long, frustrating road to the NBA... Just as Jackson is familiar with Brown, Harrington knows Hawks general manager Billy Knight. Knight helped draft Harrington while he was with the Pacers in 1998.Now he gives the former prep star from New Jersey the chance to take the next step in his quest to become a star. ``This is something I've been waiting for a long time,'' Harrington said.

The Associated Press writes inThe Chicago Daily Herald: Kenyon Martin was traded Thursday from the Nets to the Nuggets for three future first-round draft picks, a deal that strengthens Denver's frontcourt and weakens New Jersey's chances to stay among the elite teams in the Eastern Conference... Martin also had been heavily courted by the Atlanta Hawks, who have more salary cap space than any other NBA team but have been unable to find a top-tier free agent willing to take it.

Sekou Smith and Mark Montieth ofThe Indianapolis Starwrite: Stephen Jackson's introductory media session as an Indiana Pacer on Thursday coincided with a similar affair for Al Harrington some 535 miles away in Atlanta. While Jackson entertained the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd with his wit and charm, Harrington marked his first appearance as a Hawk with some timely humor of his own."Braid it or fade it," he joked to his new boss, former Pacers player and executive and now Hawks general manager Billy Knight, who sports a distinctive fluffy Afro.