Former Arizona point guard Nico Mannion is signing with Italian club Vitrus Bologna with the intention of returning to the NBA in one to two years.
Mannion entered the offseason as a restricted free agent after one season with the Golden State Warriors. His agent Bill Duffy told ESPN’s Jordan Schwartz that Mannion’s “full intention is to return to the NBA.”
If/when Mannion returns to the league, the Warriors will maintain his restricted free agency rights, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.
The Warriors selected Mannion with the No. 48 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The 20-year old averaged 4.1 points, 2.3 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 30 games with the Warriors. Mannion spent time with the Warriors’ G League team in Santa Cruz as well.
The Warriors will still maintain Nico Mannion’s restricted free agency rights if/when he returns to the NBA. But it’ll be Chris Chiozza in the vacated Mannion two-way spot. https://t.co/O3l1kvvxFA— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) August 10, 2021
Vitrus Bologna is a natural international fit for Mannion, who was born in Siena, Tuscany, Italy. Mannion represented Italy in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, where he emerged as the team’s go-to scorer.
Mannion has a large fan following in his native country and his presence on Virtus Bologna will only heighten his popularity back home.
Virtus Bologna CEO Luca Baraldi said, “I announce with great satisfaction the arrival in Virtus Segafredo’s roster of Nico Mannion, a young player of great talent, who in the recent releases of the Italian National Team, both in the pre-Olympic and in the final phase of the Olympics, has shown all his value and technical potential.”
With limited free agency options and an insecure roster situation in San Francisco, Mannion’s decision to go the international route should assure him immediate playing time for a respectable team. Vitrus Bologna is one of the most decorated clubs in Europe, with 16 Italian national championships and two Euroleague titles to their name.
In the meantime, the Warriors had planned for Mannion’s departure by signing two-way guard Chris Chiozza on Monday.