It takes one to know one.
Prigioni was the first Argentinian point guard to suit up for the Knicks. As the NBA’s oldest rookie in history at 35 years old, Prigioni helped New York reach the second round of the playoffs in the 2012-13 season. It was the last time the Knicks made it to the postseason.
Eight years later, the Knicks are on the cusp of breaking the playoff drought and have signed another Argentinian point guard. But unlike Prigioni, who was in the twilight of his career then, Vildoza is entering his prime years.
The 25-year old Vildoza is about to follow Prigioni’s footsteps and hopes to leave a mark like his legendary compatriot.
Prigioni, who is now an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves, shares the excitement of the Knicks fans on Vildoza’s decision to take his act to the NBA.
“Congratulations on your four years of constant growth in Baskonia, and I’m sure you are going to do great here, Prigioni wrote on Vildoza’s heartfelt parting shot with Baskonia on his Instagram. “See you soon!”
Before leaving for the NBA, Vildoza delivered an ACB Spanish League title to Baskonia last year and was named the Finals MVP.
Prigioni also won several titles for Baskonia before heading to the NBA. He returned to Baskonia and retired there following a four-year NBA stint. For Vildoza, who admires Prigioni growing up, leaving Baskonia was bittersweet.
“Making the decision to leave has not been easy at all, Vildoza wrote. “However, I have to take the step. Being able to play in the NBA for me is the ultimate dream. It was what I projected when I was a child and played in the room at home with my father. I want and need to realize the utopia. And measure myself.”
Vildoza will have the entire offseason to measure himself to the Knicks standards before the team can guarantee the second year of his contract. He is not expected to play with the season already coming to a close. But they are invested in him moving forward as signing him cost a $2-million buyout with his Spanish club.
Vildoza on Kobe Bryant and Lakers’ radar in 2019
The 6-foot-3 Vildoza will also suit up for the Argentia national team in the Olympics. It was in the 2019 FIBA World Cup where Vildoza started to get into NBA’s radar.
Vildoza was one of the two Argentines that caught the fancy of the late Kobe Bryant.
Los Andes, an Argentinian publication, reported in 2019 that Bryant called the Los Angeles Lakers people and toyed with the idea that Vildoza and Gabriel Deck should play for his former team at some point.
Bryant was said to be enamored by “the speed of the point guard (Vildoza) and his launching mechanics with agile movements plus the aggressiveness.”
Deck recently signed a similar four-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Knicks didn’t waste any time to lock up Vildoza before the Lakers, and several NBA teams get into him in the offseason.
Octagon’s Alex Saratsis, whose clients include Knicks’ Alec Burks, the Antetokounmpo brothers, Bam Adebayo, and Vildoza’s Argentina national teammate Facundo Campazzo, negotiated the deal.
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