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Andrea Bargnani: I would have played for Nets 'for free'

Andrea Bargnani #77 of the New York Knicks

Andrea Bargnani #77 of the New York Knicks shoots against David West #21 of the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

After making $23.3 million in two injury-plagued seasons with the Knicks, Andrea Bargnani told an Italian newspaper he would have played for the Nets "for free."

Bargnani signed a two-year deal for the league minimum with the Nets after rebuffing a contract for more money from the Sacramento Kings. The first year is for $1.4 million and the second is a player option.

"I would have done it for free because the money at this time has no importance," Bargnani told il Fatto Quotidiano.

Bargnani, the No. 1 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, wants to prove himself again after a disappointing stint with the Knicks.

He was acquired in 2013 for a hefty price to be the second option alongside Carmelo Anthony, but Bargnani never became that player.

The 7-foot power forward played just 42 games his first season and then a career-low 29 last year. He averaged 13.9 points in 71 games for the Knicks, who sent a 2016 first-round pick and two second-round selections to Toronto in their package for Bargnani. He has missed 191 games in the past five seasons.

Bargnani will have a different role and less pressure on him with the Nets. He will come off the bench to spell either Thaddeus Young or Brook Lopez, and hopes to resurrect his career.

"I just hope to be able to have a decent playing time, scoring as many points and exceed goals, as I always have," Bargnani said. "I don't think I have been lucky. Luck is good health that allows you to show your talent at the right time. The rest is the work. I made choices, risky indeed and I intend to continue to risk. I accept all criticism, I'm living in a dream."

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