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NEW YORK CITY – Mindaugas Kuzminskas, the 6-foot-9, second-year forward became the odd man out Sunday, when the Knicks waived him to make room for the return of Joakim Noah from his suspension for a banned supplement.
In a statement on Facebook on Sunday, Kuzminskas wrote:
“New York. What can I say? One of the most beautiful chapters in my life is now over. Is it too soon? I don’t know. I believe that everything in your life happens for a reason.
I’ve heard that “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”. Well, there will be many opinions, but I think I made it here. First of all, I met so many great people who will be my friends for life, I met many professionals who made me better as both a player and as a person, and I had a pretty decent NBA rookie season.
While I may not have left the mark I would have liked to on the team, I hope the fans, the club and all of the players will remember me as a good teammate, a reliable friend and a good person. I truly believe that above all, we should strive to be the best people we can be. The rest will follow.
I leave the city of New York with nothing but positive memories and will always hold a special place in my heart for the Knicks organization. Thank you for the opportunity and for everything you’ve done for me, but it’s now time for me to move on and start a new chapter. Kuz out”
Kuzminskas was a rotation regular last season, when he averaged 6.3 points and became a fan favorite as an undrafted free agent. But this season, he played in only one game, at Orlando, where he made a 1:51 garbage-time cameo. That was the game Kristaps Porzingis, his close friend, sat with a sore elbow and turned ankle.
“The respect this franchise has for Mindaugas cannot be overstated,” Knicks general manager Scott Perry said about the 28-year-old Lithuanian in a statement. “His professionalism and work ethic were greatly appreciated by his teammates, coaches and the entire staff. This decision was extremely tough for us. We wish him nothing but the best moving on with his playing career.”
According to a source, the Lakers, Bulls and Hawks are expected to have interest in Kuzminskas if he clears waivers.