The Knicks announced Wednesday that they signed small forward James White to a contract. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Daniel Curtin, who works at the Three Eye Sports agency that represents White, told ESPNNewYork.com that the amount is for slightly less than the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million.
"He's excited about it," Curtin said last week. "He's going to have a chance to play. He's come a long way since his earlier NBA stint. I think it's a great opportunity for him, especially with the personnel he'll be playing with. He has some elite intangibles."
The 6-7, 200-pound White was a member of the Spurs and Rockets during the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons, respectively, but he only played in a total of 10 games.
For the past two years, he has competed in Lega Basket Serie A, the highest level of club competition in Italian professional basketball, and he became one of the top scorers. He led the league in 2010-11 with Dinamo Sassari, averaging 21.0 points per game (in a mostly transition offense), and was top three in 2011-12 with Pesaro, averaging 17.1 points per game (in more of a halfcourt offense).
Not only did White prove he could adjust to two different offensive styles in Italy, but he became more of a complete player, averaging about five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game.
"He's really grown," Curtin said. "This past year, he led the league in free throws made, and his efficiency and basketball IQ were phenomenal. He was also first in the league in assists for any non-point guard. He's made strides in the shooting department, but he's not going to turn into Steve Novak. But his overall polish has increased quite a bit."
White will be with the Knicks this week in Las Vegas, where they're participating in the NBA summer league. White won't be suiting up, however, because the team is mostly for rookies and second-year players. But he'll be meeting with his new teammates and coaches, learning the system and training in the area.
White is expected to be a spark off the bench for the Knicks this season, with his athleticism to draw fouls and defensive abilities against multiple positions. And with likely Jeremy Lin back running the point, White should be lethal on the fast break. When White was younger, he earned the nickname "Flight 75" for his leaping ability. In fact, he can dunk from the free throw line while putting the ball between his legs.
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