Totally eclipsing the Lakers’ big Kentavious Caldwell-Pope news, the Knicks have made an interesting free agent signing to kick off the summer. At first it felt like the Knicks didn’t sign a major target. However, after a masterful snatch back in transition, Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a cute little two-point bomb on the Big Apple. Mario Hezonja will be a Knick next season!
By Woj’s account, it seems that Hezonja had a number of suitors (Portland among them) but chose New York in part because of new head coach, David Fizdale. For one year at $6.5 million, this move adds to the stable of young, athletic players in need of Fizzy’s guidance.
The Knicks and Hezonja close out a tough recruitment, where several teams -- including Portland, Sacramento and Memphis -- competed for a fifth overall pick from the 2015 NBA Draft. Hezonja was drawn to coach David Fizdale, after going thru several coaching changes in Orlando.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2018
Mario himself would go on to confirm Woj’s account. The coup de grâce being an ode to Frank Sinatra, and presumably fans of the New York beisbol Jankees.
Start spreading the news...I want to be a part of it, New York,New York! Very excited to be joining the Knicks and play for coach Fizdale! A dream come true!! #betterhairdaysareahead pic.twitter.com/V7JfOUc9ob— Mario Hezonja (@mariohezonja) July 2, 2018
When Hezonja first came to the league (in the very same draft as Kristaps Porzingis and Emmanuel Mudiay) one of the points of emphasis about his potential was directly tied to his boxy, oversized ego. He was never truly en vouge in Orlando, perhaps as a direct result. Nevertheless he has been known to flambé when he gets in the kitchen, and he definitely is a balls-to-the-wall type of player when he’s got it going.
mark jackson: but i have to applaud the young fella. It’s a good move and an exciting play. Just better defense.— stingy (@aighttho) July 1, 2018