The Knicks have signed 31-year-old guard Sasha Vujacic to a one-year deal for a guaranteed $1.35 million, reports Stefan Bondy of the Daily News (Aug. 1)
The 6-foot-7 guard has averaged 5.6 points per game on a 39.5 field-goal percentage during his seven-year NBA career. However, he has not seen NBA action since 2014 when he suited up for two games with the Clippers.
Vujacic, who won two NBA titles with Phil Jackson and the Lakers, has spent most of the last four years playing in Europe.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
This is a very good signing. Bringing Vujacic in for the minimum is incredibly good value for what he stands to offer.
Money inside, his skill-set is obviously a great fit for the Knicks. Having won big in the past under Phil Jackson’s guidance (and alongside head coach Derek Fisher as a teammate) with the Lakers, Vujacic already understands the triangle offense quite well.
As far as his role, he’s a combo guard who can play very well off the ball, especially as a point guard in the triangle. He’ll help spread the floor. Looking at the way the Knicks’ roster is currently constructed, there’s no doubt they could use some help along the perimeter in the form of some long-range shooting. Vujacic will provide a bit of that.
His international experience is surely to aid his new team as well. How heavily he is relied upon remains to be seen, but he fits well.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
The Knicks’ decision to waive Ricky Ledo gives the team some healthy roster flexibility heading into training camp. While last season (amid some of the worst struggles in franchise history), it was worthwhile to take an extended look at the shooting guard, a few short months was all that was needed to come to an evaluation and realization that he isn’t quite ready for the NBA, let alone the triangle offense.
Such a release (and a freed up roster spot) could mean that a Thanasis Antetokounmpo signing is on deck, as The New York Post suggests.
Ledo wasn’t an NBA player, but neither is Antetokounmpo at this point. Still, having selected him in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft, the Knicks own his draft rights and he’d be obligated to play out a standard two-year rookie scale contract if signed. The (lower) set salary makes it a lower risk as well.
Antetokounmpo undoubtedly needs time to develop, but there’s no doubt he has tremendous upside on the NBA level, much more so than Ledo. He’s very athletic, has a long frame and wingspan to aid him defensively, and hits the floor roaring full of energy each and every night. His hustle could certainly balance an otherwise very offensively potent lineup.
The problem is most of Antetokounmpo’s versatility starts and ends on the defensive end. He isn’t very polished on offense at all, and needs to learn how to make better decisions on that end of the floor. That’ll take time and effort on the young gun’s part. While there’s no doubt he’s committed, New York also needs to commit to investing in his potential.
Antetokounmpo isn’t ready to contribute now. If signed, he’d likely spend much of the season on assignment in the D-League as he continues to learn the fundamentals of the game. Now that Ledo has been waived, perhaps the Knicks can now afford to invest, explore, and have Antetokounmpo occupy that spot. After all, the team’s rotation and core talent is more or less set. It’s hard to think they’d be able to acquire another player who could make that much more of an impact in that spot.
What’s more, if Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign in the NBA with the Knicks, it’s unlikely he’ll return to Westchester as a D-League athlete. He’s already done that for two seasons now (one as a Knicks’ draftee), and could certainly make more money overseas if New York isn’t ready to work with him more closely.
The Knicks have waived guard Ricky Ledo, the team announced.
Ledo, 6-7, 195-pounds, averaged 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds over 19.4 minutes in 12 games with the Knicks and 5.3 points and 2.1 rebounds over 14.4 minutes in 17 games with both Dallas and New York on the season.
The Knicks had signed him to two 10-day contracts, then signed him for the remainder of the season in early April.
The Knicks have shown “tepid” interest in veteran forward Carlos Boozer, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (July 28).
Lost in the Maurice Ndour report was the fact that the Knicks have shown interest in Boozer as they look to fill out the roster with another forward.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
Though New York’s interest doesn’t come with a gush of enthusiasm, it’s worth noting that his name has come repeatedly in most recent seasons for the Knicks.
Plenty of NBA teams are still intrigued when it comes to Boozer. It comes down to being able to acquire him at the right price and/or getting the best value. If the Knicks were said to be targeting him in the beginning of the offseason, there may be a cause for concern. But with much of the roster already compiled (let alone, the rotation itself), Boozer’s potential signing would come as a low-risk, high-reward move. There wouldn’t be much pressure on him, and expectations would be set appropriately (perhaps on the lower end of the spectrum) heading into the season.
At 33 years old, Boozer can still play. He averaged 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 23.8 minutes through 71 contests for Los Angeles last season. Primarily considered a starter throughout most of his career, the vet did most of his damage coming off the bench for the Lakers. Perhaps he’d be open to a similar role in New York, especially if the offers aren’t coming in by the handful.
Ironically, the Knicks arguably have the most flexibility at the power forward position. Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn play multiple positions, and it remains to be seen if Kristaps Porzingis will be depended on to handle worthwhile minutes right out of the gate.
Boozer could prove to be the vet that helps them all along, pushes them, and potentially steals minutes from the trio if he’s playing at a high level. That’d be a good player to have to create a certain balance in the front court.
That said, the re-signings of Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas may derail such an idea.
The Knicks have officially signed first round draft picks Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant, the team announced (July 30, 2015).
The 19-year-old Porzingis, who the Knicks drafted No. 4 overall out of Latvia, is listed at 7-foot-1 and 231 pounds and recently debuted with the team during the Summer League in Las Vegas.
Grant, a 22-year-old out of Notre Dame, was selected by the Wizards with the 19th overall pick before having his rights traded to Atlanta. He was then dealt to the Knicks for Tim Hardaway, Jr. and also debuted during the summer league.
Porzingis will make roughly $18.4 million over the four years of his contract, while Grant is projected to make $1.5 million this coming season (July 30, 2015).
The Knicks have officially re-signed forward Lou Amundson to a contract, the team announced.
The new contract was reported as being worth $1.6 million for one year (Begley, July 11).
Keith Schlosser, Lead WriterJuly 11
: All things considered, this has been a solid off-season for New York. Not only have they managed to sign four impact players (Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn, and Derrick Williams), but they’ve also brought back two of last season’s rare bright spots in Lance Thomas, and now, Amundson.
The Knicks have certainly upgraded their talent level for next season, but are still undoubtedly a younger looking squad, nonetheless. Amundson will provide some much needed veteran leadership in a locker room that will be looking for guidance. >> Read more here
One thing about the New York Knicks is that they’re persistent.
After Maurice Ndour came to terms on a deal with the Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks continued to make a push for the power forward. The Knicks reached out to Ndour’s camp to see if they could come to an agreement, but Ndour refused to go back on his verbal agreement with Mark Cuban, a source told the New York Post.
Ndour grabbed plenty of teams’ attention during the NBA Summer League, averaging 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. He signed with the Mavericks last week for more than the $600,000 rookie free-agent minimum, according to the report.
The Knicks offered Ndour less than $200,000 in hopes that the forward’s New York roots would persuade him to take less to stay home.
This is quite the back-and-forth tale. Essentially, the Knicks wanted Ndour — but on the cheap — and didn’t make a fair offer until Ndour had already come to terms on a deal with Dallas.
Ndour showed loyalty by sticking with the Mavs, which is a break for Cuban, who probably could not bare another free agent changing his mind in the 23rd hour.
Ndour is 23 years old and was excellent during the summer. He boasts a 7-foot-4 wingspan and was signed on the cheap, but apparently not as cheap as the Knicks had hoped.
The Knicks’ attempt was not good enough and we’ll have to wait to see if this bites the team on the rear in the future.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
The Mavericks had other options, a source says. But head coach Rick Carlisle was a big fan of Ndour, which ultimately hurt the Knicks in the end.
As evidenced during free agency over the last month, players like to feel wanted. The Knicks may have been appreciative of Ndour’s talent, but perhaps they didn’t realize just how well he was going to play in Las Vegas. They were laid back about signing him, and by the time another team (Dallas) caught on and expressed full interest, it was too late for New York to prove they wanted him just as much. It didn’t appear as though they did.
Instead, the team has reportedly signed Darion Atkins and Wesley Saunders to partially guaranteed contracts for training camp. It would be interesting to know if such contracts were given in fact because the Knicks lost out on Ndour, or if the team preferred such players and held off on offering Ndour more money because the offers were already extended to the latter two.
It’s possible the Knicks’ faith in Atkins and Saunders could have contributed to them losing out on Ndour’s services. Much is being made about the fifteenth man. Whereas Ndour received a guarantee for the first year of his contract with the Mavericks, New York obviously didn’t get the impression he was worth that. He likely would have ended up in the D-League following camp if he signed with the Knicks.