In interviews with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy's leading sports publication, this week, both Lionel Hollins and Andrea Bargnani dismissed the importance of the center's history with the Nets cross-river rivals.
"His past? I don't care. Not interested in the opinion of other coaches," said Hollins in a clear reference to Phil Jackson's description of Bargnani as a "malingerer" and a "tease.". "To me, it's just what Bargnani can give me. He was available and we took a chance: a very good chance."
Hollins added that Bargnani can shoot, pass and dribble and play in the post, calling him "a very talented guy."
Bargnani was again asked if he wanted to take out his "revenge" against the Knicks.
"No, because it would mean that I was angry with New York. Not so," Bargnani told Massimo Lopez Pegna of La Gazzetta, according to a translation. "Did I receive excessive criticism? That's are part of our work. I do not go on the court to make up for certain judgments ... based on nothing. Inside of me, I have a thousand reasons that keep me motivated every day and make me train like crazy. I think I'm too smart to get involved by certain situations."
As for his choice of the Nets, Bargnani admitted his choices were limited by his injury-riddled recent past.
"I was in a new situation, because I had never been free agent and frankly it was not the best time to have no agreement after years when I had missed a lot of games. I put everything on the plate and evaluated."
Bargnani has a two-year vets minimum deal with a player option in the second year. Thus far, in 38 minutes over two games, the man Italians call "Il Mago," or "the Wizard" has scored 22 points, shot 8-of-17 overall, 1-of-2 from deep, and grabbed eight rebounds.