When the Golden State Warriors signed Donte DiVincenzo last year, both sides knew it was likely to be a one-year deal. After injuries short-circuited DiVincenzo’s career with the Milwaukee Bucks, and led to a trade to the Sacramento Kings, the red-haired Villanova grad signed with the Dubs to rebuild his value on a two-year deal with a player option.
DiVincenzo, who’s alternately known as “The Big Ragu,” “The Michael Jordan of Delaware,” and “White Donte,” shot nearly 40% from deep for the Warriors last year, starting 36 games. The M.J.O.D. had career highs in three-pointers, assists, and steals, along with easily the best scoring efficiency numbers of his career. He proved he could play a passable point guard and crash the boards, where he averaged more than one three-pointer per game.
That kind of production is worth far more than the $4.7 million DiVincenzo was scheduled to earn next year, and so it was a no-brainer for The Big Ragu to decline his option.
Donte DiVincenzo is not picking up his $4.7 million player option with the Warriors and will enter unrestricted free agency, source tells ESPN.— Kendra Andrews (@kendra__andrews) June 27, 2023
The move almost certainly ensures that DiVincenzo will be playing elsewhere next year. As much as Golden State might like to have him back, they’re limited by only having DiVincenzo’s “Early Bird” rights. With Bird rights, a team can pay its own free agent as much as they want. With Early Bird, a capped-out team can only offer a contract starting with a 20% raise - for DiVincenzo, that would be $5.4 million.
At 26 years old, the playoff-tested DiVicenzo could at least get the mid-level exception, which starts at $12.4 million for teams under the luxury tax. That’s more than the Michael Jordan of North Carolina made in all but two years of his Hall of Fame career. And it’s almost exactly the combined career earnings of Wilmington, Delaware’s favorite NBA twins, Joey and Stephen Graham, who made $12,586,459 from 2005-2011.
DiVincenzo’s almost-certain departure also inspired Golden State to bring in Gary Payton II at the trade deadline, and started a blood feud between the Warriors’ front office and the Trail Blazers’ medical staff. Portland hasn’t come up as a DiVincenzo suitor - they do have plenty of guards - but Jake Fischer reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves are interested in adding him.
The other team that’s shown interest? The New York Knicks, AKA “Villanova North,” where DiVincenzo could join teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart from the Wildcats’ 2016 national championship team. Brunson and DiVincenzo won it all again in 2018, when DiVincenzo won Most Outstanding Player after scoring 31 points off the bench in the championship game.
We should also mention that Villanova team also featured Forever Warriors Eric Paschall and Omari Spellman, and Baker Dunleavy, brother of Golden State’s new GM, was on the coaching staff. On the losing side, freshman Jordan Poole scored three points for Michigan, a year before the Washington Wizards guard led the Wolverines to the Sweet Sixteen.
While DiVincenzo would seem to be a great fit with the Sacramento Kings, who are flush with cap space, he didn’t seem to enjoy his time there in 2022. Plus, they’ve already got Kevin “Red Velvet” Huerter, and NBA teams still unofficially follow a “One Ginger” policy when it comes to signing redheads.
We still believe WNBA star Elena Delle Donne has the best claim to be the Michael Jordan of Delaware, but DiVincenzo has proved that he’s the greatest Delawarean to play for the Golden State Warriors - sorry, Walt Hazzard.
Donte DiVincenzo will never be the most famous person from Delaware - President Joe Biden has that locked up - but with more solid seasons like last year, he could easily become one of the top ten most notable Delawareans. Look out, Judge Reinhold! The Big Ragu is coming for you!