May 16, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni (9) strips the ball from Indiana Pacers point guard D.J. Augustin (14) during the third quarter of game five in the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 85-75. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Manu Ginobili Hopes Pablo Prigioni Returns to NBA


San Antonio Spurs’ star Manu Ginobili and New York Knicks’ back-up point guard Pablo Prigioni have become close friends through basketball. Ginobili has been in the NBA for  for a decade. Prigioni, on the other hand, was a 35-year-old rookie for the Knicks for the 2012-2013 season.

Ginobili and Prigioni have spent several years playing together on the Argentine National Team, and have formed a great relationship. When the Knicks visited the Spurs during the season, Ginobili had Prigioni to his home in San Antonio for dinner.

When asked what type of season Prigioni had, Ginobili had few words.

“Terrific. Great season – 35 years old and a rookie on a team like that – he did great.’’

It is unclear whether or not Prigioni will be back with the Knicks for the 2013-2014, or the NBA for that matter. Reports have surfaced that his wife would prefer him to return to his professional career in the Spanish League, but Prigioni has publicly denied such rumors.

According to Ginobili, “If he wants to, he’ll be here. I think the last time he talked to the media (on Argentine radio) he was intending to get back in the league.”

After the news of Jason Kidd’s retirement, New York will start their search for a back-up point guard. Prigioni proved himself as a more than capable role player in the NBA, particularly in the playoffs. The Argentinian ran the Knicks’ offensive extremely fluently and efficiently.

New York will likely pursue Prigioni, even if it forces them to take a hit from their mid-level exception of $3.1 million. If a team offers Prigioni more than the team’s qualifying offer of $950,000, the Knicks have to match the offer to retain his services. It remains unknown how much of a salary cap hit the organization will be willing to take in order to bring back Prigioni, but it has to be one of their higher priorities.

Tags: Manu Ginobili NBA New York Knicks Pablo Prigioni San Antonio Spurs