Contrary to reports earlier this week that he was thinking about returning to the Spanish League on the advice of his wife, Pablo Prigioni has said that he wants to return to the NBA next season.
According to the New York Post’s Marc Berman, Prigioni told a radio station in Argentina that he wants to stay in America.
“If I can choose, I prefer to play in the United States and stay in the NBA.’’
According to Argentine sportswriter Julian Mozo of Ole’ Newspaper, in the radio interview Prigioni, 35, denied his wife wants him to return to the Spanish League next season and claimed she likes New York.
The Knicks have until June 30th to make him a qualifying offer of just under one million dollars. If he declines the offer it would then make him a restricted free agent.
It is possible with his success this season that a team could force the Knicks to match an offer to him and use part of their $3.1 million dollar mid level exception to do it.
Prigioni was key to the Knicks end of the year success after he was inserted into the starting lineup, helping spark a 13 game winning streak and an 16-2 end of the season run.
He averaged 3.5 points per game, 3.0 assists per game this season and had a couple of big games in the post season as well.
In the first round against the Celtics he had nine points and five steals in a Game Three win and an NBA career high 14 points to go along with five rebounds in the series clinching Game Six win.
This is good news for the Knicks that Prigioni is willing to return to the NBA next year. He was a very solid piece for this team all year and really helped the ball movement when in the game.
His insertion to the starting lineup along with the insanely hot shooting from Melo and the evolution of Smith’s game to more of a slasher to the rim helped the Knicks get on a run towards the Division Title at end of the year.
Berman of the Post speculated that the Spurs could be interested in bringing him in since he is good friends with Manu Ginobili. I would not rule out the Suns either who have cap space and another good friend of Prigioni’s in Luis Scola.
The report also points out that the agent for Prigioni will probably look for a one year, two million dollar deal. That is not bad at all considering that it is really just an extra million dollars on top of the qualifying offer.
Prigioni right now would be a solid back up to Raymond Felton if the Knicks use a traditional starting lineup or a solid starter in the two point guard system the Knicks used most of last season.
He is solid defensively, proved that he can hit the three point shot, and as I already mentioned, is great at keeping the ball moving which is a key for this team.
With Jason Kidd looking as poor as he did towards the end of the season, Prigioni stepped his game up and basically did what Kidd had done at the beginning of the year for the Knicks.
Having him back is not the difference for the Knicks in terms of winning or not winning a title next season. But, we can’t deny his positive impact on the team and it will be nice to possibly have him back next year.