Atlanta has added some fringe bench talent. Both of the following players will have to fight very hard to stay in the league. Here’s the news:

The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agents Thomas Gardner and Othello Hunter to contracts, it was announced today by General Manager Rick Sund. Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

“Both players played well in our mini-camp and summer league,” said Sund. “Thomas is a solid shooter with range, who has the ability to score in bunches. Othello is an athletic power forward who runs the floor really well.”

A 6-5 guard, Gardner averaged a team-high 16.3 ppg (sixth in the tourney), along with 2.5 rpg, 1.5 apg and 1.5 spg during the Rocky Mountain Revue, hitting .480 FGs (.467 3FGs) and .750 FTs. The Missouri product played in four games last season with the Chicago Bulls, averaging 5.3 ppg and 1.0 rpg.

During the 2006-07 campaign, Gardner saw action in Belgium with Verviers-Pepinster, and helped lead the club to the Belgian Cup semifinals. He played three seasons at Mizzou, tallying 19.7 ppg as a junior for the Tigers. Thomas Earl Gardner was born February 8, 1985 in Portland, Oregon.

Hunter, an undrafted rookie big man from Ohio State, put up 13.2 ppg, a team-best 6.2 rpg, 2.0 apg and 1.2 spg in five Hawks summer league contests. He played in 76 career games for the Buckeyes, averaging 7.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg (.583 FG%). Nearly half of his 415 career rebounds were on the offensive glass (178).

He finished second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage as a senior (.596), and equaled the seventh-best single-season mark in OSU history. Tegba Othello Hunter was born May 28, 1986 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“We saw Thomas play last year, and monitored him with the Bulls and overseas,” said Hawks’ Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel David Pendergraft. “He was one of the first guys we invited to our summer program, and he really performed well. He’s a shot maker who can add a spark off our bench.”

“We really liked the progression Othello has made, from Ohio State to Portsmouth to Orlando, and continuing in our mini-camp and summer league,” Pendergraft said. “His competitiveness, athleticism and professionalism have impressed us, and if he continues to advance, he has a chance to be an asset to our organization.”

Atlanta Hawks 2008-09 season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.hawks.com or calling 1-866-715-1500.  The Hawks, a member of the National Basketball Association since 1949, play in the Southeast Division, along with the Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.