It wasn't long ago that Knicks 101 reported that New York Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni was contemplating a return to Spain instead of remaining in the NBA. Reportedly his wife was finding the change difficult and wished for a return to more familiar surroundings. However, now Prigioni is denying the reports and claiming his preference is to remain in the NBA.
New York Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni made a fairly seamless transition from the Spanish League to the NBA. However, reportedly his Spanish speaking wife's transition to life in New York City hadn't gone as well this season and she was pushing for a return to Spain this off-season. Apparently those rumors are untrue.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reports the Knicks guard is now making his intentions clear.
“If I can choose, I prefer to play in the United States and stay in the NBA,’’ Prigioni said on Argentine radio.
Prigioni, 35, denied on radio his wife wants him to return to the Spanish League next season and claims she likes New York, according to the Argentine newspaper, Ole.
Last off-season Prigioni signed a league minimum contract worth $473,000. Although the pay was low the contract also had it's benefits. He knew signing a one-year deal would give him better leverage this summer as long as he played well and chose to remain in the NBA.
He played well and now the negotiations will be in his favor. Prigioni is a great fit as the Knicks’ second-unit point guard. He's their best defensive point guard and the ball certainly moves better when he’s on the court as compared to when Raymond Felton or Jason Kidd are on the floor. On July 1, Prigioni will be a restricted free agent.
Prigioni is eligible to receive a $988,872 qualifying offer from the Knicks. It's likely the team will extend him that offer considering his play this season, his cost and the fact their lack of cap flexibility restricts their pursuit of other options. The the ball will truly be in Prigioni's court to decide if he'll remain in the NBA or move on.
If he decides to stay he could either accept the Knicks' qualifying offer, negotiate another offer with the Knicks or sign with another team knowing New York can match the offer. However, the Knicks would have to dip into their $3.1M mid-level exception to match an offer from another team. If they're willing to do so would be up to them.
Another option for the Knicks would be to include Prigioni in a sign-and-trade. That would allow them to receive a trade exception back as compensation. Whatever the decision, it sounds like Prigioni would prefer to remain in the NBA.