Following a near four-year absence from the NBA (save for a four-game stint with the Clippers in between), Sasha Vujacic is now prepared to resume his stateside career in New York. This latest gig reunites him alongside Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher, with whom he won two NBA championships in Los Angeles.
Vujacic is 31 years old, but is still very much in his basketball career after staying active overseas. He expects to contribute for the Knicks, adding that his NBA absence was by choice following the 2011 lockout.
And while the guard had known for a while that he was planning on returning to the NBA, he said that it was the Knicks who reached out to him, and not necessarily the other way around. His acquisition was of no simple favor to him, but once a couple familiar faces reached out, Vujacic knew where he was headed.
"They followed me when I was in Europe. They spoke through my agent," he said of Jackson and Fisher's involvement in recruiting him. "I knew there were teams that wanted me back, but I knew where I wanted to be. Once [the Knicks called], there were no other options. That's really something I wanted. This is where I wanted to be."
In addition to spreading the floor as a combo guard in the triangle offense (Many Knicks guards conveyed Monday they believe the two-guard positions are interchangeable in the triangle. Vujacic's versatile skill set is a testament to that.) and working the pick and roll, Vujacic is sure to be a mentor for the younger players, as well as somewhat of a tutor and educator with regard to the triangle offense.
Vujacic called Kristaps Porzingis "the biggest steal of the draft" after competing against him in Europe last season last season. What's more, Vujacic still believes in the triangle offense, and was very hesitant to consider it an outdated system. He even provided proof.
"It's the most winning offense in basketball. It's been proven. It's been around for a long time," he said. "If you look around the NBA, especially during the playoffs, there were plenty of teams that were playing triangle."
Training camp officially begins on Tuesday, but many Knicks revealed that most players have been coming together at the practice facility to work out over the last three weeks. And while one might think this is a common occurrence, merely par for the course, Vujacic insisted it was "special."
"We've had a lot of players here three weeks before camp. That says a lot," he said. "Myself and the other players have been working really hard, and that's a good indication that we want to give our everything to what lies ahead."