Sasha Vujacic

And-Ones: Kuzma, NCAA, Vujacic, Agents

Kyle Kuzma will make his debut for the Lakers on Friday and LeBron James is happy to have him back with the club, as Sacha Pisani of Sporting News relays.

“He hasn’t played since USA basketball when he had the stress reaction,” James said “Obviously he’s been training and working out, but like I always tell you guys, there’s no substitution for game fatigue and game stamina.

“That will come, though. It’s great to have him back on the floor. We definitely missed him.”

Here’s more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Sasha Vujacic wants to return to the NBA, as tells Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times. “I love the game so much, and I don’t want to walk away yet,” Vujacic said. “I’m in the best shape of my life right now. I work out every summer with DeAndre Jordan, and he said the same thing. I’m 35, but I feel like I’m 25. As long as I have that desire and fire inside of me, I’m going to keep pushing.”
  • The NCAA has begun the process of allowing student-athletes to benefit from their name and likeness, as their website announces.
  • Longtime NBA agents Roger Montgomery and Derrick Powell are teaming up to form the Elite Athlete Group, Adrian Wojnarowski of relays (Twitter link). Powell previously worked with Ja Morant.

Sasha Vujacic Still Seeking NBA Comeback

As players like Amar’e Stoudemire, Monta Ellis, and Marreese Speights work out in front of NBA teams in the hopes getting back in the league, Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times reports (via Twitter) that veteran guard Sasha Vujacic is also looking to make an NBA comeback.

According to Markazi, Vujacic has been working out daily in Los Angeles and hopes to play in the NBA next season. The former Lakers and Clippers guard said it would be his dream to play in L.A. again, Markazi adds.

Vujacic, who made his NBA debut with the Lakers in 2004 after being selected 27th in the draft, has appeared in 581 total regular season games, suiting up for the two L.A. teams and both of the New York clubs as well. His most recent NBA stint came in the 2016/17 season, when he appeared in 42 games for the Knicks. The 35-year-old has played in Italy since then.

While Vujacic will seek an NBA contract, his comeback attempt looks like a long shot. He had also been hoping to break back into the league last summer, and worked out for two teams in September, but nothing came of those auditions. Now two full seasons removed from his last NBA appearance, Vujacic is facing increasingly unfavorable odds.

Sasha Vujacic Works Out For Two NBA Teams

Longtime NBA shooting guard Sasha Vujacic worked out for the Pelicans on Monday, Andrew Lopez of the New Orleans Times Picayune tweets. The Thunder are hosting Vujacic today as he attempts to return to the league, according to RealGM.

Vujacic revealed last month that he was seeking another NBA contract. He spent the 2017/18 season with Fiat Torino of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, helping the team win its first even Italian Cup by scoring the deciding layup in the final seconds.

The workouts for Vujacic can be chalked up as teams exercising due diligence with training camp around the corner. The Pelicans have eight wing players on their roster already, though they continue to look for another option at shooting guard. Their offer sheet to restricted free agent Tyrone Wallace was matched by the Clippers a week ago.

The Thunder have a number of options at shooting guard, including Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, Terrance Ferguson and Hamidou Diallo, though Roberson is still recovering from a knee injury and could remain sidelined until December.

A 10-year NBA veteran, the 34-year-old Vujacic last played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, appearing in 42 games for the Knicks and averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.2 APG in 9.7 MPG. The highlight of Vujacic’s NBA career was winning two championships with the Lakers.

Vujacic, 34, also had brief stints with the Clippers and Nets.

Sasha Vujacic Hopeful For NBA Return

According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, veteran guard Sasha Vujacic is hoping for a return to the NBA for the 2018/19 season.

Vujacic spent the 2017/18 season with Fiat Torino of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, helping the team win its first even Italian Cup by scoring the deciding layup in the final seconds.

“I don’t know where I will be playing next season,” Vujacic said. “But honestly, I am first waiting for the NBA. But I also know that my agent is talking to some European teams, Torino included.”

A 10-year NBA veteran, the 34-year-old last played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, appearing in 42 games for the Knicks and averaging 3.0 points and 1.2 assists in 9.7 minutes per game.

A two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, Vujacic holds career averages of 5.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.3 APG in 15.3 minutes per contest with a relatively humdrum shooting line of .390/.367/.858.

Sasha Vujacic Reaches Deal With Italian Team

After spending the last two seasons with the Knicks, veteran guard Sasha Vujacic is set to head back overseas. Italian team Fiat Torino announced today (Italian link) that it has reached an agreement to sign Vujacic.

International basketball reporter David Pick, who classifies the contract as an offer sheet, indicates (via Twitter) that it’s worth $350K. According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, the agreement includes an NBA buyout clause that must be exercised by September 17. Vujacic will presumably be locked in with Fiat Torino for the 2017/18 season if that buyout clause goes unused.

For Vujacic, the move to Italy will represent a homecoming of sorts — the Slovenian shooting guard began his professional career with Italian club Snaidero Udine back in 2001, spending his first three seasons with the team. He eventually made the leap to the NBA in 2004, spending several years with the Lakers before being traded to the Nets in 2010.

Since 2010, Vujacic has gone back and forth between the NBA and international leagues, spending time with the Nets, Clippers, and Knicks in addition to playing for teams in Turkey, Italy, and Spain. In 10 total NBA seasons, the 33-year-old has appeared in 581 games, averaged 5.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.3 APG, while shooting 36.7% on three-pointers. Vujacic struggled through one of his worst seasons as a pro last year in New York, shooting just 30.9% from the floor for the Knicks.

Latest On The Chris Paul Trade

Chris Paul‘s departure from the Clippers today severed a relationship that began to fall apart when the team acquired Austin Rivers in 2015, according to a Facebook post from Michael Eaves of ESPN. Several Clippers believed Rivers brought an entitled attitude to the team because he is the son of coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers. Veterans didn’t think Austin Rivers tried hard enough to fit in, which created dissension in the locker room. Paul, in particular, thought that Austin Rivers got preferential treatment from his father.

The situation reportedly reached a breaking point prior to the trade deadline when the Knicks offered Carmelo Anthony and Sasha Vujacic to L.A. in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers. Doc Rivers blocked the deal, which led Paul to believe that coaching his son was more important than winning, with an unidentified league executive saying, “Chris despises Doc.”

There’s more fallout from today’s blockbuster trade:

  • The decision to opt in for the final year of his contract gives Paul more flexibility if he wants to team up with LeBron James next summer, Eaves notes in the same post. He mentions the Rockets, Lakers and possibly the Clippers, if Doc Rivers is gone, as potential destinations for that to happen. In the meantime, Paul can see how well his game meshes with James Harden‘s and gets a financial windfall because Texas doesn’t have a state income tax.
  • Austin Rivers denied on Twitter that he had anything to do with Paul’s desire to leave. “These false rumors are comedy…so fictional it’s actually amusing! People will say or do anything to get attention,” he posted. He concluded the message with “A lot of clowns out there,” using two clown emoji symbols.
  • The Clippers were concerned about the later years of Paul’s next contract, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. A five-year deal in excess of $200MM would have paid Paul nearly $45MM at age 37, and L.A. wasn’t willing to make that commitment.
  • Newly hired Clippers consultant Jerry West didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting with Paul, according to Chris Broussard of Fox Sports 1 (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets would have preferred to clear cap space by trading Ryan Anderson, but there wasn’t much of a market available, reports Zach Lowe of Two teams that were interested asked for two first-round picks in exchange for taking the three years and $60MM left on Anderson’s contract.
  • Trading for Paul before July 1st will allow the Rockets to enter free agency over the salary cap, Lowe adds, giving them access to a full midlevel exception worth more than $8MM and a biannual exception topping $3MM.
  • The Rockets will continue to pursue other stars, but probably can’t offer Trevor Ariza in any deal, according to Lowe. Paul remains close with his former teammate in New Orleans, and the chance to reunite played a decision in Paul’s decision to pick Houston. The Clippers, Lowe relays, had made several attempts to obtain Ariza.
  • Rockets GM Daryl Morey credits Harden for making today’s trade happen. In a video posted by Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston, Morey says the Rockets now have the two best playmakers in the league.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Jennings, Randle, Ndour

The Knicks appear to be done with buyouts after parting ways with Brandon Jennings today. While there was some speculation about Derrick Rose being cut by the club, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN suggests the Knicks probably won’t complete any more buyouts unless “a player they like becomes available.” (Twitter link)

Despite Jeff Hornacek‘s words to the contrary, the Knicks appear to be in full-on tank mode at this point. Sporting a 24-35 record, the Knicks are four games behind Detroit for the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference.

More from The Garden…

  • Hornacek has been a fan of Chasson Randle‘s game, Mike Vorkunov of the New York Times writes. The Knicks always viewed Jennings as a stopgap, Vorkunov writes, whose absence will now allow Randle to receive NBA minutes over the next several weeks. “We loved Chasson, his ability, how he can play,” Hornacek said. “He’s a smart player, knows how to play the game, shoot the ball. Chasson can play.”
  • Frank Isola of the Daily News commended the team for cutting Jennings, as Brandon “was never going to be a part of the Knicks future.” Jennings wasn’t happy with the Knicks, as he’d begun to lose minutes to rookie Ron Baker. Isola speculates the reason Jennings was released before Sasha Vujacic was Vujacic’s willingness to run the triangle offense. Additionally, the Knicks attempted to trade Jennings prior to the deadline, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes, but no team was interested in giving up an asset for him.
  • Isola is skeptical that the Knicks will cut Rose (link above). The Knicks still view themselves as a playoff-caliber team, and waiving Rose would be an admission of a “colossal mistake” from Phil Jackson. Had the Knicks dealt Rose for Ricky Rubio, Isola observes, Jackson essentially would have traded Rose, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez for Rubio. Isola suggested the team look to the future; “acquiring as many lottery balls as possible” rather than playing for the eighth seed. Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis‘ minutes should be limited, and Ndour appears to be a release candidate.
  • In trade deadline negotiations, the Timberwolves wanted Mindaugas Kuzminskas in addition to Rose, according to David Aldridge of The Knicks and Wolves couldn’t get on the same page for a deadline swap, as we’d previously heard the Knicks insist Minnesota include Nemanja Bjelica alongside Rubio.

Players Who Can Veto Trades

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, and they became even rarer this offseason, when several players with those clauses in their contracts either called it a career or signed new deals. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, who all opted for retirement, had no-trade clauses last season, and so did Dwyane Wade, who doesn’t have the same protection on his new contract with the Bulls.

Nonethless, while the list of players with explicit no-trade clauses may be dwindling, there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year contract with an option clause – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals, though no restricted free agents signed their QOs this year.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2016/17 league year:

No-trade clauses

Players whose offer sheets were matched

Players accepting qualifying offers

  • None

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

Information from Basketball Insiders and Yahoo! Sports was used in the creation of this post.

Knicks Re-Sign Sasha Vujacic

JULY 14, 12:21pm: The Knicks have officially re-signed Vujacic, the team announced today (via Twitter).

JULY 12, 10:12am: The Knicks are bringing back one of their rotation players from last season, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who reports (via Twitter) that Sasha Vujacic has agreed to terms on a new deal with the team. It will be a one-year, minimum-salary contract for Vujacic, per Berman.Sasha Vujacic vertical

After spending several years overseas, having appeared in just two NBA games in a four-season span from 2011 to 2015, Vujacic returned stateside last year and joined the Knicks. Appearing in 61 games (25 starts) during the 2015/16 season, the 32-year-old guard posted averages of 4.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and 1.4 APG, to go along with a shooting line of .383/.364/.821.

Although his numbers weren’t great last season, Vujacic also wasn’t getting significant playing time, averaging less than 15 minutes per game. With a handful of incoming players added to the roster this offseason, Vujacic may start the 2016/17 campaign in a role that’s even more reduced.

Of course, Derrick Rose will be one player ahead of him on the Knicks’ depth chart, and Rose hasn’t played more than 66 games in a season since 2010/11, so there could be some opportunities for Vujacic to get increased minutes. Brandon Jennings will also be in the mix at point guard, while Courtney Lee , Justin Holiday, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas are other backcourt options for the Knicks.

[RELATED: Knicks’ roster and depth chart at]

The Knicks used up their cap space on deals for Joakim Noah, Lee, and Jennings, then signed Kuzminskas using their mid-level exception. As such, the team now only has room for minimum-salary contracts, which limited the amount New York was able to offer Vujacic.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Notes: Williams, Noah, Vujacic

The Knicks officially renounced their rights to free agents Derrick Williams, Kevin Seraphin, Lou Amundson and Cleanthony Early, and as a result, the quartet no longer count against the team’s salary cap figure, Ian Begley of relays (ESPN Now link). The team can still re-sign any of the players using cap space, save Williams, who agreed to a one-year pact with the Heat earlier this evening.

Here’s more from the Big Apple:

  • Joining the Knicks was a dream of Joakim Noah‘s for a long time, who relishes the challenge of playing in New York, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “I’m not taking this opportunity for granted,’’ said Noah. “This has been a dream of mine since I was 5 years old. We’re proud to be from New York. My parents are divorced, but my father is a proud New Yorker. We all are. Fortunately, his son is playing for the New York Knicks now. This means everything to me. I’m going to do everything to make this special.
  • With Langston Galloway on his way to the Pelicans, the Knicks may turn to a familiar face to bolster their backcourt — Sasha Vujacic, Berman relays in a separate piece. New York can offer little more than the veteran’s minimum to the 32-year-old, who may be able to find more lucrative offers overseas, the scribe adds. Vujacic made 61 appearances for the Knicks in 2015/16 and averaged 4.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 14.9 minutes per contest.
  • You can view the Knicks’ current roster and depth chart here.