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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Stefan Bondy

Knicks, Donte DiVincenzo agree to four-year, $50 million deal, reunite him with Villanova teammates: source

NEW YORK — The Knicks hit their redheaded target.

Donte DiVincenzo, the 26-year-old scrappy guard out of Villanova, agreed Saturday to a four-year, $50 million contract to join the Knicks, a source confirmed to The New York Daily News.

The move, which can’t become official until the free agency moratorium ends next week, solidifies New York’s guard rotation and will use up all of its mid-level exception. Barring a blockbuster trade — which is always possible given the Knicks’ glut of future draft picks — Leon Rose’s summer was again quiet.

DiVincenzo, nicknamed ‘The Big Ragu’ because he’s Italian with red hair, is a decent 3-point shooter (40% last season with the Warriors) and a strong defender. His greatest attribute is probably winning.

The Delaware native captured two high school State championships, two NCAA titles with Villanova — both alongside Jalen Brunson — and an NBA championship in 2021 with the Bucks (although he was injured for the final rounds of those playoffs). He’s now the third former Villanova player on the Knicks roster, joining Brunson and Josh Hart.

DiVincenzo, the NCAA’s Most Outstanding Final 4 player in 2018, adds depth to the backcourt and could also compete for a starting two-guard spot with Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley. DiVincenzo scheduled meetings with four teams before free agency, a source said, but the Knicks were always considered the frontrunner.

The other Knicks move Saturday was agreeing to trade Obi Toppin, their former lottery pick, to the Pacers for two second-round draft picks. Toppin’s departure was expected — even if the trade return was underwhelming — because he’s eligible for a contract extension and stuck behind Julius Randle in the rotation.

The Knicks still have to fill Toppin’s minutes as the backup power forward and there’s no obvious candidates on the roster. Hart, who is expected to sign a long-term extension next month, played power forward in the playoffs but he’s only 6-4.

DiVincenzo, who is also 6-4, has similar attributes to Hart but shoots better and doesn’t rebound as well. His career hit a downturn during he 2021-22 season, when he was returning from a torn ligament in his ankle and his team, the Kings, declined to give him a qualifying offer.

DiVincenzo then signed a small contract with the Warriors and rehabbed his value while averaging 9.4 points in over 26 minutes. His salary with the Knicks represents a roughly 300% raise from last season.

The Warriors, who are operating well above the luxury tax, were unable to put together a competitive offer for DiVincenzo because of cap constraints.

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