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Andrea Bargnani: 'I would've played for free'

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In a philosophical interview with il Fatto Quotidiano, an Italian newspaper, Andrea Bargnani said that he turned down other, higher paying jobs in the NBA because he has something to prove with the Nets. The 29-year-old signed for the vets minimum of $1.4 million with a player option on a second year.

"I would have done it for free because the money at this time does not matter," said Bargnani who's made $72 million in his NBA career ... and who's made some profitable investments in Italy. After two years with the Knicks --and what he has called "crazy bad luck" -- Bargnani said he wanted to start over ...in New York. He said he wants to forget the injuries that limited him to 71 games in two years.

"I just hope I can have a decent playing time, scoring as many points and exceed goals," he told interviewer Malcom Pagani . "I do not think I was lucky (last year). Luck is good health that allows you to prove your talent at the right time. The rest is the work. I made risky choices, indeed extremely risky and I intend to continue to take risks. I accept all the criticism, it is living in a beautiful dream, I know myself. "

Bargnani added that he still enjoys the game and will play it as long as he does.

Also on Monday, ESPN published the latest in its series of looks-back at the Knicks season, as told by Phil Jackson to Charlie Rosen, his long time pal. In this episode of "The Phil Files," recorded in March when Bargnani was playing well, Jackson said of the Italian seven-footer...

"He's such a good shooter that defenders have to bite on his shot-fakes," Jackson told Rosen. "Even so, when Andrea does drive he almost always moves in straight lines. He rarely, if ever, executes any kind of change of direction. And he gets hurt because he can't avoid the resulting contact."

Bargnani is expected to play his first "friendly" game this week for Team Italia where he's playing with Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari.