A pleasant surprise as a 35-year-old rookie, Pablo Prigioni
will return to the Knicks
next season. (Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)
The Knicks have agreed to re-sign unrestricted free agent point guard Pablo Prigioni to a three-year contract, according to multiple reports.
Newsday reports that Prigioni will receive a three-year deal worth approximately $6 million, with a partial guarantee on the third year. ESPNNY.com also reported that player and team have reached an agreement.
The free-agent negotiating period opened on Monday. Contracts can't officially be signed until July 10.
Prigioni, 36, averaged 3.5 points and 3 assists in his rookie year for the Knicks last season, raising those numbers to 4.5 points and 3.2 assists during the playoffs.
The Argentinian's arrival in the NBA came after a long and illustrious career in Spanish's ACB league, but he proved last season that he still has plenty of game left. A nifty passer who sees the floor well, Prigioni showed good command in the halfcourt, posted a top-2o assist-to-turnover ratio and knocked down 39.6 percent of his three-point attempts. Despite Prigioni's age New York was markedly better on defense when he was on the court last season (100.9 points per 100 possessions) than when he was on the bench (104.7 points per 100 possessions). His net rating of +8.0 was the highest among Knicks players who played at least 1,000 minutes.
It's hard to get much better production than that from the rookie minimum price New York paid last summer. All told, he was a nice contrast to Raymond Felton, whose game is oriented toward a drive-and-kick style, and his play probably earned more time than he received in a crowded backcourt.
With Jason Kidd jumping ship to coach the Nets, Prigioni's retention was crucial for the Knicks, who are operating in a tight salary cap position with big deals on the books for Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani. He ensures that Felton, who is prone to episodes of streak shooting and questionable decisions, isn't asked to carry the entire burden and he offers a reliable floor-spacing option for the perimeter-heavy offense coach Mike Woodson has constructed around Anthony.
Grade: A+. On a team known for its opulent spending, Prigioni is value defined, a sweet find for the Knicks last summer and a smart re-signing here. Not only does he return excellent production relative to his cost, he does so at a position of increasing need for the Knicks. After securing the first playoff series victory since 2000, the Knicks remain fully in "go" mode for the duration of Anthony's and Chandler's deals, which expire after the 2015 season. Age is the only real concern, but that is mitigated by the fact that Prigioni isn't expected to play enormous minutes. Plus, the Knicks even took the extra step of adding a partial guarantee on the final year of the deal in case his game unexpectedly falls off a cliff (a la Kidd).