Back to EuroLeague? Cases of Facundo Campazzo and Luca Vildoza

Orazio Cauchi
Staff Writer
2022-10-05 07:25

The NBA door looks almost closed for the two Argentinian players. Should Facundo Campazzo and Luca Vildoza just return to EuroLeague and re-embrace their role as stars of European basketball? 

Credit: Scanpix-FIBA
Credit Scanpix-FIBA

In the USA, there's a saying that 'one man's trash is another man's treasure'. In many ways, it describes the type of situation in which Facundo Campazzo and Luca Vildoza are currently living.

Not because Campazzo or Vildoza have anything to do with trash, but because their current position in the NBA fits the logic of the saying. 

Both players decided to leave Europe to test their value at the NBA level, both left their comfort zone as stars of EuroLeague basketball to prove that they could belong to the highest level of basketball currently existing.

Facundo Campazzo

Facundo  Campazzo
Position: PG
Age: 31
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Birth place: Cordoba, Argentina

Now they'd love to stay in the NBA to keep living their dream, but they struggle to find real chances to prove their value. 

For both of them, now has come the time to make an important decision about their future: keep waiting for the right opportunity in the NBA, knowing that it might arrive later rather than sooner, or go back to the EuroLeague where they'd immediately recover the status that they had built over the years. 

But let's analyze better the situations of the two players now that the final outcome doesn't seem to be that far off. 

Facundo Campazzo

After spending two seasons with the Denver Nuggets, the former Real Madrid star is now a free agent at the NBA level. During his time with Denver, Campazzo proved he can also be a useful player in the NBA.

His first season in the league was a solid one, and during the season, he was able to impress the American audience with his ability to find his teammates in so many different ways. 

He also had an important role in the playoffs rotations, averaging 27 minutes per game with 9.3 points. But in the past season, the situation changed quite a bit.

Despite playing the same number of games, Campazzo started in only 4 of them, and his numbers went down in basically every single aspect: points per game, minutes, and shooting percentage. 

During the offseason, the Denver Nuggets, as explained by the GM of the team, decided not to extend Campazzo's contract because they wanted to build a team with more size, and they didn't feel that the Argentinian guard would have been a good fit in that situation. 

Campazzo is still an unrestricted free agent. In the previous months, he had stated that his number one goal was to stay in the NBA and find a new opportunity in the league.

But now, with the beginning of the regular season incoming and without an NBA contract secured yet, the Argentinian point guard is starting to consider the opportunity to go back to Europe. 

Chus Mateo, the head coach of Real Madrid, made it clear that Campazzo would be more than welcome if he returned to Real

"I wish there was a place for him," Mateo said. "If there is, he's welcome. We are very fond of him, and we know what he can give. If he comes, it'll be fantastic."

Despite some contacts with a few NBA teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Campazzo seriously considers the proposals from Europe. And in this regard, Real Madrid remain the most realistic opportunity for the player, multiple sources told BasketNews. 

Although there's some level of interest from other EuroLeague clubs, Campazzo is prioritizing the negotiations with Real Madrid, sources confirmed to BasketNews. So a potential landing in other European clubs other than Real Madrid looks unrealistic as of right now. 

If no concrete offer from the NBA will arrive in the next few days, everything looks already set for his grand return to 'Los Blancos'.

Luca Vildoza

Luca Vildoza left Europe in the spring of 2021 to join the New York Knicks right before the beginning of the ACB playoffs. The point guard didn't play any regular season games and ended his experience in New York with only two appearances in the Summer League before being waived in October of 2021. 

The Argentinian point guard struggled for a while with a foot injury, and he underwent surgery just a few days after being waived by the Knicks. He then missed most of the past season before signing a 2-year partially guaranteed deal with the Milwaukee Bucks in April of this year. 

Vildoza made his official debut in the NBA during the playoffs, playing in 7 games with an average of 2.4 minutes per game. During the offseason, he was waived by the Bucks and then re-signed just a few days later to an Exhibit 10 deal. 

Introduced in the NBA's most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, Exhibit 10 contracts are one-year deals worth the minimum salary. They don't come with any compensation protection but can include an optional bonus ranging from $5K to $50K. 

So basically, if a player signs this type of contract and gets waived by the team before the beginning of the regular season, the team can ask him to stay with their G League side, and if the player accepts the proposal and remains with the G League team for at least 60 days is entitled to a financial bonus. 

The Milwaukee Bucks already have 15 players under fully guaranteed contracts, so the chances that Vildoza will make the regular season roster look pretty slim at this moment.

Just like his compatriot, Vildoza is torn. He'd love to keep fighting for a spot in the NBA, but at the same time, he's intrigued by the possibility of returning to European basketball and finding more stability. 

During his time in Europe, Vildoza became a symbol of Baskonia. He was loved by the fans, and he embraced the mentality of the club. Baskonia now would love to bring him back to bring that kind of leadership that a young team needs. 

Contacts between the club and the player's entourage have already taken place, a source told BasketNews. If Vildoza ends up getting waived by the Bucks before the beginning of the regular season, no one in Europe is better positioned than Baskonia to acquire the player, another source told BasketNews. 

Having the opportunity to add two players like Campazzo and Vildoza when the season has already started would represent an amazing luxury for any European club since the level of the two players is so high. 

Now the ball is in the players' court, it's up to their will to make the best decision for their future. Keep fighting for a spot in the NBA or recapture their status as key players in the EuroLeague? 

We should have an answer to the question in a few days. 


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