The Knicks will officially sign the MVP of last year’s Spanish league championship, with Woj reporting Wednesday that New York intends to ink Luca Vildoza to a four-year, $13.6 million contract that isn’t fully guaranteed.
Vildoza, a 25-year-old from Argentina who is 6’3” and can play both guard positions, has been expected to sign with the Knicks for a little bit. Now, because ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting it, we can say with complete confidence that the news is legitimate. Woj’s source appears to be reputable: it’s Vildoza’s agent.
Luca Vildoza, one of the top playmaking guards in Europe, has agreed-in-principle to a four-year, $13.6M deal with the New York Knicks, his agent Alex Saratsis of Octagon Sports told ESPN. Story: https://t.co/CIZjnKElKm— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 5, 2021
It sounds like the first year of his deal, this season, is guaranteed, while the remaining three are not, and no further details are known quite yet.
Source confirms Luca Vildoza has signed with Knicks but the four-year, $13.6M deal is not guaranteed. The final three years are partially guaranteed. He is clearing immigration and Covid-19 testing and may be able to join the roster after Jared Harper's 10-day expires— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) May 5, 2021
By all accounts, this seems to be a shrewd signing. Vildoza was the MVP of the 2020 Spanish ACB Finals after leading his team, Baskonia, to the title over Barcelona. Not only did he finish the championship game with a team-high 17 points, plus 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, he scored the game-winning layup with just three seconds remaining on the clock.
Here, let’s check out his game-winning bucket for ourselves. You’ll see that, despite not being involved in the initial sequence, Vildoza notices Barcelona’s defenders are all focused on the ball and have left the paint wide open. He baits the guy covering him out towards the three-point line before suddenly cutting towards the hoop. His teammate sees him, and the championship is sealed. Vildoza is number 3 in a white jersey, and he starts the video on the bottom left.
People paid to know about basketball, like ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz, believe the Knicks have done a good thing.
New York was $2.45M below the minimum salary floor and this signing will now push them over.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) May 5, 2021
We saw this occur with OKC and Gabriel Deck.
Smart concept of targeting an international player now (with $$ that would have been lost) compared to waiting until the offseason. https://t.co/tpDi9WpRwz
The Luca Vildoza signing is a huge deal for the Knicks. The 25-year-old Argentinian PG has been one of the most coveted guards in Europe for some time. Excellent pull-up game, creative PnR passer, feisty defender. Brings the Argentinian spirit to the floor. Huge fan of his game. pic.twitter.com/fRixQ9yv9N— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) May 5, 2021
According to Woj, Vildoza still has to clear the immigration process before he can fly to New York. While he might technically be able to play this season, don’t get your hopes up. The playoffs are getting pretty darn close, and there’s no reason to think he’d just saunter into Madison Square Garden and immediately crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation.
Newsday’s Steve Popper reported that he’s “unlikely to play for the Knicks this season,” and that seems likely to be correct. But he will be able to begin training with coaches and working out at team facilities, meaning the Knicks will have some time to determine whether he’s one of the missing pieces. It would certainly be great if he could turn out to be a starter-level point guard.
Vildoza, who is 6’3”, averaged 10.1 ppg and 3.4 apg with Baskonia in the Euroleague this season.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) May 5, 2021
He led Baskonia to a title this season, and was named the MVP of the 2020 Spanish ACB Finals.
Here are some highlights:pic.twitter.com/aLUs45LZCe
Vildoza’s Argentinian heritage obviously brings to mind Pablo Prigioni, who stole not just basketballs from unsuspecting opponents during ordinary inbounds plays, but hearts. Prigioni, who was 35 as a rookie for the Knicks, was merely a role player. Vildoza, on the other hand, has a chance to make a whole career out of playing in New York.
The more I watch of Luca Vildoza, the more I like his prospects of being a nice player in the NBA. He passes really well, hits from deep, and competes on D. As a backup PG/spot starter, there's really nothing he can't do. NBA teams really need to give him a hard look as a UDFA. pic.twitter.com/0GHp1M4Ks9— Spencer (@SKPearlman) February 16, 2019