Mindaugas Kuzminskas Reportedly to Sign with Knicks: Latest Details and Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2016

Lithuania's Mindaugas Kuzminskas celebrates his team's 67-64 win against Serbia after the semifinal match at the EuroBasket European Basketball Championships, in Lille, northern France, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Michel Spingler/Associated Press

The New York Knicks reached an agreement Tuesday with 26-year-old Lithuanian forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas for a two-year deal, Sportando reported. 

ESPN.com's Ian Begley confirmed the report.

Kuzminskas played with Spain's Unicaja Malaga since 2013 but "recently signed a multiyear deal with Turkish team Darussafaka Dogus," per Sportando.

He showed last season with Unicaja that he is a small forward capable of exhibiting a solid all-around game in the NBA

While Kuzminskas is an unknown to some, including Basketball Insiders' Tommy Beer, after the success Kristaps Porzingis had with the Knicks in his rookie season, many will find it difficult to knock New York's move:

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer

I know nothing bout Mindaugas Kuzminskas, but it's impossible not to trust NY international scout Clarence Gaines (who ushered KP to NYC)

In Euroleague action, Kuzminskas averaged 12 points per game while shooting 54.9 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three-point range:

Despite his 6'9" frame, he's a slender player (216 lbs) who uses his speed to his advantage. While he isn't going to overpower players near the basket on the offensive end, he can outwork them, which will make him a nuisance to the opposition. 

He proved his ability to collect second chances by finishing the 2015-16 regular season tied for 19th among all players with 1.8 offensive rebounds per game. 

Joining a Knicks team whose face of the franchise, Carmelo Anthony, is the starting 3, expect Kuzminskas to come off the bench to provide a different style of play than the pure-scoring Anthony. 

Given Kuzminskas' index rating of 142, which was 22nd last season, Knicks fans could also expect him to provide some defensive versatility away from the basket. New York could utilize his athleticism to defend the oppositions' wing players, but Kuzminskas' build could work against him on the defensive glass. 

But don't expect another Porzingis to enter Madison Square Garden from Europe and immediately become a sensation. Kuzminskas looks like he'll be the type of player who can provide valuable minutes off the bench to give Anthony a rest while providing a high-intensity style of play. 

Stats courtesy of Euroleague.net.


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