After Austin Rivers matched his season high with 25 points for the Nuggets in Wednesday’s win over the Knicks, teammate Michael Porter Jr. told reporters that Rivers was “trying to get those dudes back” after a difficult stint in New York earlier this season (Twitter link via Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News).
However, while Rivers may have been motivated by playing his old team, he declined to air any grievances with the Knicks when asked about his exit from the franchise earlier in 2020/21.
“It doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t even want to get into that,” Rivers said (link via Bondy). “I don’t have any negativity towards the Knicks. Let’s just be clear. I’m actually very close with a lot of guys on the team. Obviously, things happened… (but) I don’t want to bring any of that to light. They’re doing so well right now. … I really am happy for them.
- Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes a look at what sort of player the Knicks are getting in newly-signed guard Luca Vildoza, while Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke to Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo about the same subject. “He has something special in his game. Sooner or later, we knew he was going to play in the NBA,” Campazzo said of his teammate from the Argentinian national team. “I think he’s going to make an impact here. I believe he can make it and is going to improve a lot in his game here. He can be here many years.”
- Vildoza’s buyout from Baskonia cost $2MM, writes Berman for The New York Post, citing a report out of Spain. NBA teams are prohibited from contributing more than $750K to a buyout this season, so Vildoza had to make up the $1.25MM difference himself. The terms of his deal with the Knicks made that more palatable, as he’ll earn $3.5MM in 2020/21 despite signing so late in the year, Berman notes.
- The Knicks’ success this season is even more encouraging because the team is set up so well for the future, according to Tommy Beer of BasketballNews.com, who points out that New York has a clean long-term cap sheet and control several extra first-round picks in upcoming drafts.