The New York Knicks might as well approach former Villanova players with a Pokémon mindset — ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All!’ Jalen Brunson couldn’t have been a better signing for the Knicks in free agency last summer and Josh Hart was an excellent trade deadline acquisition for New York.
Brunson and Hart won a championship at Villanova in 2016 and have formed quite the duo together with the Knicks. This offseason, Hart is expected to opt out of his player option to become a free agent and sign a new contract with New York. He’s been vocal about his desire to remain a Knick.
There’s another Villanova champion that the Knicks could turn to in free agency. Donte DiVincenzo signed a two-year, $9.3 million contract with Golden State last summer and has a $4.7 million player option for 2023-24 that he’s expected to opt out of like Hart. DiVincenzo has also been vocal about wanting to remain with the Warriors, but free agency could take him elsewhere.
The Knicks’ biggest offseason need is shooting after they shot a horrid 29.2% from three in the playoffs. DiVincenzo isn’t known as a deep threat, but he is coming off a season where he shot a career-high 39.7% from three on an average of 5.3 attempts per game.
Should Knicks consider signing Villanova champion Donte DiVincenzo if he becomes free agent?
Two things stick out about Donte DiVincenzo that have nothing to do with his shooting. Similar to Josh Hart, DiVincenzo’s pesky defense and ability to crash the boards would be valuable to the Knicks off the bench. He averaged 1.3 steals and 4.5 rebounds in 2022-23. Also like Hart, DiVincenzo is the type of player that Tom Thibodeau would love.
New York fans saw how Hart thrived with the Knicks after he was traded from the Trail Blazers, so much so that if Hart were to not re-sign with New York, he would be a hot commodity in free agency. The good news is that isn’t an outcome that Knicks fans should have to worry about.
DiVincenzo shared the floor with Brunson in 2016 when the Wildcats won the NCAA title and then again in 2018. As a recent guest on the ‘Point Forward’ podcast with Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, DiVincenzo said that he and Brunson are still best friends after the two roomed together at Villanova. Brunson and Hart share a unique, funny friendship, so imagine what would happen if the Knicks duo turned into a trio.
DiVincenzo’s connection to Brunson and Hart shouldn’t be the sole reason why New York should consider pursuing him on the free agent market. He’s the type of player that can do a little bit of everything. He shouldn’t be at the top of the Knicks’ free agent list if he does opt out of his player option, but given his history and what he’d bring to the second unit, Donte DiVincenzo could thrive in a place like New York.