San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili called Argentine countryman Pablo Prigioni’s first season with the Knicks “terrific’’, “hopes’’ he returns but stopped short of guaranteeing the crafty point guard will be back in the NBA next season.
“I’m not sure, I really hope so,’’ Ginobili said during the NBA Finals Media Day at AmericanAirlines Arena -- the day before the Spurs open the NBA Finals against the Heat.
“I think the last time he talked to the media (on Argentine radio) he was intending to get back in the league. If he wants to, he’ll be here.’’
Asked what kind of year Prigioni had, Ginobili said, “Terrific. Great season – 35 years old and a rookie on a team like that – he did great.’’
Prigioni and Ginobili are close friends. When the Knicks were in San Antonio earlier this season, Prigioni went to Ginobili’s home for dinner. They have played several years together on the Argentine National Team and are months apart in age.
The Knicks may have to dip into their $3.1 million mini mid-level exception to re-sign the restricted free agent Prigioni if he gets an offer above the club’s $950,000 qualifying offer. Prigioni has denied his wife wants him to return to the Spanish League. Prigioni’s return becomes more key with Jason Kidd’s retirement two days ago.Prigioni purposely signed for one year - at the league minimum - so he'd have more negotiating power this summer.