The Knicks have agreed to a one-year minimum contract with guard Sasha Vujacic, the team announced.
The 32-year-old Vujacic played his first full season in the NBA with the Knicks last year since the 2010-11 season after spending three years in Europe and signing one 10-day contract with the Clippers in 2014, which was not renewed.
Vujacic played 61 games with the Knicks last season, 25 of them as a starter, where he averaged 4.9 points, 1.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game on 38.3 percent shooting.
Vujacic was last on the Knicks who played over 10 minutes per game in field goal percentage.
Last season, Vujacic's minutes came at the expense of otherwise intriguing prospects who deserved more serious looks. The Knicks were a team in transition, and clearly could have benefitted from exploring different options.
Instead, Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher, and Kurt Rambis all showed loyalty to the former Laker. Unfortunately, the veteran guard was unable to reward such allegiance with respectable play. Vujacic took a long time to find a rhythm. Early on, he shot poorly, out of place, and looked lost on defense. When New York looked to appear somewhat competitive, he dragged them down.
By the time the 32 year old gained just a little bit of efficiency, the Knicks were already a lost cause. Despite being a nine-year career role player, Vujacic started a career-high 25 games. In addition to neglecting promising youngsters by choosing to occupy that roster spot in questionable fashion, Vujacic's promotion to starting shooting guard isolated and frustrated a more deserving Arron Afflalo towards season's end. Of course, this likely led to him opting out of his player option for next season. The Knicks have clearly rebounded rather nicely with an improved roster. Perhaps that's a silver lining, but it doesn't change the fact that Vujacic failed to pull his weight on the court again and again when it mattered most.
The good news is, the Knicks have likely (and hopefully) bolstered their roster so much so, that Vujacic doesn't have to be depended on nearly as much. Jeff Hormacek's presence might decrease his usage as well. Championship winning veterans aren't bad to have on a roster, but Vujacic shouldn't be regarded as much more than a vocal leader and respectable mentor on the bench. There's no reason he should be given notable minutes. The Knicks have better pieces to fill out the rotation. Frankly, there are better prospects to explore with a spot going to a frequent D-League assignee instead. Of course, if they really need the spot, Vujacic can always be waived later in the season. Giving him another contract proves to be loyal enough.
I'm not sure if fans are aware of the bond Sasha has built with Kristaps Porzingis but it's significant. His main role is to quietly teach KP the nuances of the offense and be a sounding board, both of which are critical to Porzingis' growth and development. Sasha is a borderline rotation player at this point and if the Knicks find themselves relying on him for heavy minutes they are in trouble. It probably didn't hurt that Sasha's best game came against the Suns in Phoenix even if Jeff Hornacek was long gone by then.