That's Prigioni on the left, defending Patty Mills during the 2008 Olympics. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Good morning, friends. Here's something that trickled out last night (I first saw it in this Spanish report by way of Alan Hahn) and can be found in the usual sources this morning. It seems the Knicks spent some time last week courting Pablo Prigioni, a 35 year-old Argentinean point guard in the twilight of a decorated career in Spain. Marc Berman reported on the meeting this morning:
Prigioni, who played last season in Spain for Unicaja Laboral, had a two-day visit, dinner with Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald and coach Mike Woodson.
Prigioni, considered a good passer and clutch shotmaker, will square off against Team USA at the London Games next month.
His Spanish team, a source said, is offering him a one-year deal. The Knicks likely would want him for either the $2 million lower exception or $1.4 million veteran’s minimum.
Prigioni is open to the NBA after spending his entire career in Europe. He has been on the Knicks’ radar before. Back in 2009, then team president Donnie Walsh and Grunwald investigated signing Prigioni. But now he’s three years older.
I (and you, probably) have seen Prigioni play in international competition before, and I've been watching some YouTube clips this morning. He's a solid passer and a menacing pull-up shooter, and would probably be well out of New York's price range if he wasn't on year seventeen of his professional career. If the Knicks feel he's got the legs to play some back-up guard minutes for the veteran's minimum, I'd be totally cool with that signing. It'd be like having Mike Bibby around again, only better, less irrationally averse to giving high-fives, and with an accent (and, unfortunately, fewer silly walks).
Most of all, I continue to be delighted by the Knicks' pursuit of talent from abroad. First we heard they were inquiring about Mirza Teletovic, then there was the workout of Salah Mejri (which may or may not have actually happened), and now we've discovered that they went so far as to wine and dine Prigioni (and I hope and assume they actually took him to Clyde's Wine and Dine. Courting a point guard prospect without taking him to Clyde's, feeding him some catfish po' boys, dousing him in "Stumbling and Bumbling" cocktails, and introducing him to the legend would be a tremendous waste of resources). We all said at the beginning of the summer that Grunwald and company would need to get creative to improve the roster with scant funds (we're still waiting on the outcome of the arbitration, just to answer that question before someone asks it), and following up on some overseas scouting-- scouting that's been ongoing for years-- strikes me as a worthwhile and appropriately creative endeavor. I just can't believe they haven't tracked down Spanoulis yet!