Knowing a playbook is an underrated trait in the NBA. According to the New York Post, the New York Knicks are signing Sasha Vujacic to a one-year contract worth approximately $1.4 million. The veteran guard is being brought back to provide leadership and depth on the bench. Vujacic is one of five players returning from last season’s roster.
Despite not putting up tremendous numbers last season, Sasha Vujacic was actually drawing interest from a couple of teams. Two of them are said to be NBA teams, while the others were clubs in Europe. That bodes well for Vujacic that he can still be paid to play basketball professionally.
Initially, the New York Knicks were hoping that Langston Galloway would stick around and be the backup shooting guard behind newly acquired Courtney Lee. However, Galloway received a contract offer from the New Orleans Pelicans that he could not refuse. That’s when the Knicks decided to turn to Vujacic.
Competing with Sasha Vujacic for the backup shooting guard position will be Justin Holiday. The six-foot-six guard was recently acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls that brought Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks. Vujacic might have a slight advantage over Holiday because he’s already familiar with the offensive system that team president Phil Jackson likes to run.
Sasha Vujacic became a surprise starter for the New York Knicks last season. Interim head coach Kurt Rambis, who might still stick around even after Jeff Hornacek has been named the new head coach, decided to bench Arron Afflalo.
According to ESPN, Sasha Vujacic might also receive some playing time behind Derrick Rose at the point guard position. Management traded for Rose and signed Brandon Jennings in free agency to bolster the position that was considered a weakness last season. There are injury issues with Rose and Jennings, so Vujacic is a luxury to have on the bench.
Another value that Sasha Vujacic provides is his ability to be a mentor. Kristaps Porzingis stated during his rookie year that he leaned heavily on Vujacic about making the transition from Europe to the United States. The Knicks recently signed Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez, and there’s a good chance that Vujacic will become a mentor for the two foreigners as well.
Although it would be better for the New York Knicks in the long term to develop the younger players on their roster, management is looking to win now. That’s why they made a slew of roster changes this offseason.
According to Sports Illustrated, the New York Knicks signed Joakim Noah and reunited him with Derrick Rose in hopes that the former Chicago Bulls teammates can help them get back to the NBA Playoffs now.
Earlier this year, Phil Jackson was rumored to be on his way out. To prove to New York Knicks fans that he deserved to be the highest-paid executive in the NBA, the former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers head coach set out to reload the roster.
Carmelo Anthony is 32-years-old. The New York Knicks know that they need to capitalize while he is still athletic enough to dominate in the NBA. They cannot afford to wait for Kristaps Porzingis to take over as the franchise player.
Sasha Vujacic already owns two NBA Championship rings. He’s made a good amount of money. Vujacic’s goal now is to help bring the first title to the New York Knicks since the 1970s. If he can do that, then he’ll have a permanent place in the heart of Knicks fans.
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