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Struggling Pacers Sign Tim Hardaway

From Associated Press

The Indiana Pacers, concerned about backcourt depth in the final weeks of the season, signed Tim Hardaway on Thursday.

Hardaway, who thought his NBA career was over, gave up his job as a television analyst to sign with Indiana, giving the struggling Pacers a hoped-for boost.

The 36-year-old point guard, a five-time All-Star, is expected to be in uniform for tonight’s game against the Chicago Bulls and is eligible for the playoffs because he is a free agent and not a waiver pickup.

“Until they called, I thought it was over with,” Hardaway said.

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Hardaway’s agent, Henry Thomas, said he talked with Pacer President Donnie Walsh throughout the season about the possibility of adding the player. Hardaway impressed team officials in a workout earlier this month, but Walsh didn’t want to upset the team’s chemistry.

Injuries, off-court distractions and loses in 15 of the last 19 games changed Walsh’s mind.

The Pacers are fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley is expected to sit out his second game since the death of his mother. His backup, Erick Strickland, is questionable because of bruised ribs.

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“What he brings is smartness and veteran know-how at the end of the game,” Coach Isiah Thomas said. “He’s a guy that’s not going to get too rattled if he misses a couple of shots.”

Hardaway’s season ended last year when he broke his left foot in March. The Denver Nuggets bought out the final two years of his contract, and when he couldn’t hook on with a team in training camp, he thought his career was over.


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