Knicks Sign Former First-Round Pick, Spurs Center: Report

Luka Samanic

Getty Luka Samanic poses for the 2019 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot.

With only four days remaining until the New York Knicks season opener, the team’s front office remains hard at work in improving the 2021-2022 roster.

Their latest move, first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, is the addition of a former first-round pick:

Luka Samanic, formerly of the San Antonio Spurs, was selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The 21-year old big man has appeared in 36 games over two seasons, with career averages of 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds.

He’s the first of New York’s confirmed two-way contracts for next season, meaning they’ve got one remaining to offer.

But the Knicks’ center rotation is growing very crowded, very quickly, leading speculation as to the motive behind Samanic’s signing on both ends.

Especially now that starter Mitchell Robinson made his return to the NBA hardwood in their preseason finale.

Robinson: ‘Overall I Felt Great’

202 days since he last touched an NBA floor, big man Mitchell Robinson returned to the New York Knicks lineup.

And, well, he looked like someone who was nearly a year removed from basketball.

But there were flashes of the old Robinson too, leaving fans with something to monitor as the regular season gets underway.

In regards to how he felt getting some run for the first time since March, the Knicks center was honest (via Newsday) with reporters after Friday’s win:

Overall I felt great. Have to work on getting my touch back and conditioning. That’s the main thing. Yes. I felt really tired. Not as tired as you would have thought. It was bad but not that bad.

Robinson added that he will be available and ready for New York’s season opener against the Boston Celtics.

The New York Knicks are starting this season differently than they ended the last: with a healthy and whole roster.

But the team’s final roster spot remains unclaimed, although there is seemingly an apparent favorite to earn a deal.

Wayne Selden for Spot No.15?

Despite the grand conjecture that Dwayne Bacon’s relationship with Kemba Walker would earn him a spot on the New York Knicks, he’s been waived by the team.

Fred Katz of The Athletic was first with reports:

After the Knicks waived Luca Vildoza, it was Wayne Selden, who head coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned (via the New York Post) in regards to the last roster spot:

We love what Wayne has done. Wayne has been terrific. He’s been here all summer. Wayne has done a really good job.

Selden, 27, has appeared in 124 NBA games for three teams since 2016-2017 (Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, and the New Orleans Pelicans).

He’s got career averages of 7.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists.

Selden’s fate in New York seems all but confirmed, as he survived the team’s final iteration of cuts on October 16:

Aamir Simms, Brandon Knight, and M.J. Walker will all likely suit up for the Knicks’ G-League affiliate in Westchester.

The fact that Wayne Selden wasn’t included in those sign-and-waive transactions points to his grip on the New York Knicks’ final roster spot at the end of the bench.

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