Ravell Call, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor isn't a social-media type, but the "BringBackEarl" Twitter campaign apparently worked.
Veteran point guard Earl Watson returned to the Jazz after signing a guaranteed two-year deal worth $4.6 million Friday — and just in the nick of time to participate in training camp.
"This is where I wanted to be. This is where my heart was," Watson said. "I love my teammates. I love the organization. I love the fans. I love the city."
Atlanta, whose management drafted Watson in Seattle, made a strong push at the 11-year pro. And he considered the Hawks, in part because coach Larry Drew is from Kansas City like Watson.
"I looked up to him as a kid," Watson said. "It was all very close, but I let it be known my first option was always to come here."
The Jazz were as excited to get the experienced backup back as vocal Internet fans.
"It makes me a lot (more) comfortable," Jazz starting point guard Devin Harris said. "I was a little bit nervous being the only point guard on the roster, but getting Earl, I think it was good for us, really good."
Watson grew more comfortable with the Jazz system as 2010-11 progressed. A solid locker room presence, Watson won over fans quickly, especially after hooking up with high-flying Jeremy Evans for "early-oop" dunks.
This year, he looks to do even more.
"I have to be more vocal on and off the court," Watson said, "building bonds, building a brotherhood ... building a family and making guys comfortable, especially on that second unit."
MORE COMING: Utah had 12 players, including 10 from last year's roster and rookies Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, for the first practice of camp.
Free agent point guard Jamaal Tinsley is among the absent players who will join the Jazz this weekend.
Tinsley will be the Jazz's third point guard. The former Indiana player most recently played with Memphis in the NBA in 2009-10. He's trying to work his way back into the league after playing with the L.A. D-Fenders this fall.
"He's a veteran. He's been around this league," Jazz coach Tryone Corbin said. "He's played on some good teams. He's a talented guy. He should be hungry to get back into this league. It's going to be good seeing him in camp and competing with the other guys."
Former Jazz point guard Keith McLeod (2004-06) is also expected to be in camp.
NEW ADDITION: Corbin also spoke highly of the newest addition of his staff, manager of player development Mike Sanders.
Sanders played 11 seasons in the NBA and has experience as a coach and scout with three different teams in the league.
"He's probably overqualified for the position that we have," Corbin said.
Corbin lauded Sanders' work ethic and understanding of basketball, and said his "mannerism" will help him tutor young bigs Kanter and Derrick Favors.
TV SCHEDULE: The Jazz announced that all 66 games will be televised in HD, including 64 games on ROOT Sports. Two games will be broadcast by TNT.
Retired assistant Phil Johnson has also been added to the pregame and postgame radio crew.
mail: email@example.com, Twitter: DJJazzyJody
- Utah high school boys basketball previews:...
- BYU expecting a 'dogfight' in Logan against...
- Former Ute Delon Wright, former Cougar Jimmer...
- Morning links: Utah, USU pick up commitments...
- What you may have missed: Mangum’s...
- Dick Harmon: Former BYU quarterbacks rise to...
- Utah notebook: Britain Covey will not play on...
- High school basketball: Lone Peak, Murray,...
- 13th-ranked Utes go south, drop pivotal... 127
- Brad Rock: Utah Utes disappoint but not... 52
- BYU expecting a 'dogfight' in Logan... 52
- College football: Utes hanging on in... 40
- Utes lost more than just a game on... 38
- Morning links: Beehive State coaches on... 37
- Live updates: No. 13 Utah takes on UCLA... 35
- Twitter reacts to Utes' offensive... 35