Steph Curry vouches for new Knicks signee Donte DiVincenzo: ‘They got a good one’

14 July 2023

The Knicks “got a good one” in Donte DiVincenzo, who fulfilled his aspirations in Golden State, earned a substantial new contract, and was showered with praise Thursday by former teammate Steph Curry.

“We had a good conversation last offseason when he was trying to figure out what he was going to do,” Curry said at the American Century Championship. “I know he was coming off of an injury and trying to find a situation that could help him establish who he is as NBA player and how much value he brings to winning teams.

“And he proved that above and beyond with us all year. He knows how to play the game. You can tell he won at the highest level in college. The Knicks got a good one and I’m happy that he got his fair share of that CBA, too. So it was good.”

DiVincenzo’s stint as Curry’s teammate lasted just one season and officially ended last week when the Villanova guard signed a four-year, $47 million deal with the Knicks. The Warriors, who are well above the luxury tax, were unable to match.

Although the team bowed out in the second round, DiVincenzo’s stint in San Francisco was a resounding success. He played 72 games — starting 36 — and raised his averages in points (9.4), assists (3.5), rebounds (4.5), shooting percentage (44%) and 3-point percentage (40%) from the previous campaign.

It revitalized DiVincenzo’s value after a disappointing 2021-22, setting him up for a contract that more than doubled his salary. In New York, DiVincenzo’s joining two of his former college teammates from Villanova — Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart — adding optimism toward a seamless transition.

Curry lauded DiVincenzo’s maturity.

“He’s all about basketball, he’s all about winning. He brings great energy to the locker room. I used to call him the vet even though he’s still on the younger side [26 years old] just because he has that spirit about him,” Curry said. “And he plays way beyond his years. He’s good on both sides of the ball. He can playmake better than most people probably realize. So he fills a lot of holes on teams. And he’s not selfish in the respect of — I know he wants to start and be that guy, but he also understands where the value can be created on a team no matter what role you’re asked to do. And he bought in right away. And he got rewarded for it.”

Barring a trade, DiVincenzo represents New York’s big addition after the franchise’s first playoff series victory in a decade. Culturally, it’s a natural fit with his Villanova connections and commitment to defense. Positionally, it’s a little awkward.

The Knicks have a glut of guards and only one power forward. Tom Thibodeau could go small with the reserves if either Hart or RJ Barrett plays power forward, which would theoretically free up a rotation spot for DiVincenzo. Or, Thibodeau could expand his rotation to 10 players and find another backup four — whether it’s Isaiah Roby, Jericho Sims or a player on the market.

According to a source, the Knicks are monitoring the free-agent market for a veteran big. Available players include Gorgui Dieng and Derrick Jones Jr.

Curry, arguably the NBA’s greatest shooter of all-time, is part of the celebrity athletes participating in the American Century Championship golf tournament this week in Lake Tahoe, joining Charles Barkley, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Jerry Rice and Ray Romano, among others.

Curry, who is competing against his brother (Seth) and father (Dell), is proficient with the clubs and a 12-1 favorite to win the event.

“The next shot mentality is huge. You have to have a short memory on both the basketball court and in golf,” Curry said. “Basketball is obviously more reactive so you have more time to dwell on what’s going on in golf. You have a long walk from the next shot to the next shot to deal with the thoughts going on between the ears. But the next-shot mentality — you have to have a bit of amnesia out there.

“But also in both sports when you find that flow just to be able stay in that space and enjoy it and lock into whatever is producing you the right shots. …For me, when that ball is hitting the net there’s no better feeling. In both sports. Golf is a little bit harder to find it. So you got to be a little bit more patient and deal with how a game of golf can humble you.”


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