Sasha Vujacic

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 ESPN.com. 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 NBA.com. 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 RosterResource.com]

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 ESPN.com 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.

And-Ones: ‘Melo, Batum, Hield

Carmelo Anthony wasn’t at the Knicks triangle seminar this week after all, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, despite an earlier report that he was. Some say the seminar was mandatory and others called it voluntary, Isola hears, adding that one player said team president Phil Jackson only invited a few Knicks. Anthony is believed to be receiving therapy on his left knee, Berman writes, and the triangle sessions were mostly review, a source told the Post scribe, who downplays the significance of ‘Melo’s absence. Still, 10 other Knicks took part, Berman hears, including Kristaps Porzingis, who’s recovering from a shoulder strain and recently had a routine visit at the Hospital for Special Surgery, notes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (ESPN Now link). The other attendees, according to Berman, were Jerian Grant, Cleanthony Early, Langston Galloway, Tony WrotenSasha Vujacic, Jose Calderon, Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn and Kevin Seraphin.

See more from around the NBA:

  • Nicolas Batum isn’t definitively out for the rest of the Hornets‘ first-round series against Miami, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, dispelling an earlier report, but he’s unlikely to return unless it goes at least six games, Bonnell says. Batum is poised for free agency this summer.
  • Indiana freshman small forward OG Anunoby won’t enter this year’s draft, the school announced (Twitter link). He was a late second-round prospect for this year, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, who ranks him the 50th, but the 6’8″ 18-year-old has first-round potential for next year, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slots him 20th in his 2017 mock draft. Anunoby saw limited action this season, putting up 4.9 points in 13.7 minutes per game.
  • Long-shot draft prospect Moustapha Diagne will enter this year’s draft, but he’ll do so without an agent so he can retain his college eligibility, a source told Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The 6’8″ 20-year-old from Northwest Florida State, a community college, is a former Syracuse commit, Rothstein notes, and he was 68th in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index coming out of high school last year. Neither Ford nor Givony ranks him among the top 100 draft prospects.
  • Top-10 prospect and former Oklahoma shooting guard Buddy Hield has signed with agent Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports, a source told Darren Rovell of ESPN.com (ESPN Now link).

Knicks Notes: Wroten, Vujacic, Jackson

Knicks team president Phil Jackson acknowledged that New York needs to improve its backcourt this offseason, but he also noted that the help may come from within the organization rather than spending on the free agent market this summer, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. The executive admitted that Jose Calderon is “entering the latter part of his career” and raised the possibility that Tony Wroten, who isn’t likely to play again this season after reportedly agreeing to a deal with the Knicks, could very well be the team’s staring point guard in 2016/17, Berman relays. “My idea of chasing a point guard where it becomes just an obsession isn’t necessary,’’ Jackson said. “It’s not necessary. We can play the game without that. But we still need good performers.

With the salary cap set to increase dramatically this summer, there will be plenty of teams with money to spend on free agents, but Jackson believes players will view the Knicks as an attractive destination despite their recent struggles, Berman relays. “Everybody’s going to be flush with money. It’s going to be a seller’s [player’s] market,’’ Jackson said. “We have a definite idea how to help this team. I don’t think they’re secrets or mysteries. We’re just going to do just fine in free agency.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Jackson accompanied the team on its recent road trip in order to evaluate the team’s pending free agents, noting that he wants to retain a number of them without mentioning anyone by name, Berman notes in the same piece. The executive did indicate that shooting guard Sasha Vujacic probably wouldn’t be a part of the team’s future, the scribe adds. Lance Thomas, Langston Galloway and Kevin Seraphin will be free agents after the season, while Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams hold player options on their deals for 2016/17.
  • The team president’s insistence on running the triangle offense because of his history with it in Chicago and Los Angeles ignores the fact that Jackson is virtually the only coach to have had success with it in the NBA, Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports writes. The scribe also opines that the team’s No. 1 priority should be developing rookie Kristaps Porzingis and ponders why Jackson hasn’t looked to the Mavericks and the way they use Dirk Nowitzki on offense as a guide for how the Knicks should design their attack to maximize the talented rookie’s abilities.

Knicks Rumors: Early, Fisher, Porzingis

Knicks forward Cleanthony Early, who was wounded in a December 30th shooting, probably won’t return to the court until after the All-Star break, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The second-year player was shot once in his right knee during a robbery. Team president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills haven’t made any public comment on the incident, but an unidentified friend of Early’s told Berman that the recovery is progressing well. “He’s feeling better and he’s going to be fine,’’ the friend said. “It was the best possible outcome, and it’s not going to have any effect on his career. There was no structural damage and no infection, so he didn’t need surgery. That was the beautiful thing, not needing surgery. Thank God — his knee could’ve been blown out.’’

With an opening already on the roster, Early’s absence has left the Knicks with just 13 available players, and Berman writes that the team is “exploring several options” to add someone via a 10-day contract. The Knicks are examining the players waived because of this week’s deadline for guaranteed contracts and were keeping an eye on the D-League showcase that ends today. Jimmer Fredette, part of the Knicks’ D-League franchise in Westchester, was considered, but coach Derek Fisher wants a better defender, according to Berman.

There’s more this morning from the Big Apple:

  • The Knicks’ near-miss Friday in San Antonio and their overall competitiveness during a challenging stretch shows that Fisher has developed an effective combination, Berman writes in a separate piece. Their recent success, Berman notes, coincides with Fisher’s decision to cut his rotation to nine players and limit the playing time of Kyle O’Quinn, Kevin Seraphin, Sasha Vujacic and Lou Amundson.
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had good things to say about rookie Kristaps Porzingis, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Porzingis is averaging 13.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game halfway through his first NBA season. “They were very astute in figuring out what he might be down the road,” Popovich said. “His agility, his sense of the game, his skills, are quite significant. I think he’s going to be a great player.”
  • New York’s best opportunity for improvement next season will come through free agency, contends Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The Knicks will have approximately $20MM in cap space this summer and won’t have their first-round pick because of the 2013 Andrea Bargnani trade.

Atlantic Notes: Afflalo, Porzingis, Marshall

Arron Afflalo‘s ability to score and his smooth transition to the triangle offense have proven him an effective offseason addition for the Knicks, observes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Still, Afflalo’s time in New York could be short-lived, since he can turn down a player option worth $8MM and hit free agency again next summer.

“He’s been really valuable,’’ coach Derek Fisher said. “He has that attacking, aggressive mindset that is contagious. You need guys on the floor who have to play in the moment, willing to make the plays and take the shots.’’

See more on the Knicks amid our check around the Atlantic Division:

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