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Knicks Links: Getting to know Super Mario Hezonja

Also: Alan Williams? And some updates from summer league

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hola, ¿cómo estás?

We’ve had a somewhat busy few days in Knicks land with the signing of Mario Hezonja and Summer League right around the corner (woot!). I thought I’d take some time to give you all some reading material on the newest Knick.

Here’s some new musica to listen to:

(If you can ever go see Panic! in concert, do it. They put on a great show.)

Let’s learn about Mario Hezonja, and other things:

— Kevin O’Connor, formerly of SB Nation and now of The Ringer, once did a nice profile on Hezonja before the 2015 draft. This remains my favorite Hezonja quote to date:

“Respect? No, I never had respect to anybody on a basketball court,” Hezonja told Sportando. “I heard about, ‘If they smell blood, you get eaten.’ I’m not like that. I don’t care. Whether it’s a veteran or a young player standing in front of me I always have the same goal. I want to run over everybody.”

— Marc Berman of the NY Post reports that Hezonja really wanted to be a Knick, in part due to David Fizdale and in part to being a fan of the team as a kid:

According to another league source, Hezonja turned down a two-year deal from the Blazers because he wanted to play for the club he rooted for as a child in Croatia and work with new coach David Fizdale — the master salesman. Five other clubs, including Sacramento, were also in the hunt.

Hezonja hasn’t lost his cocky streak, either:

“He’s very brash,’’ the NBA source said of Hezonja. “He thinks he’s going to be an All-Star. Maybe he’s had some bouts of immaturity along the way and his attention strayed when he didn’t get minutes, but he’s also smart and kindhearted.”

— Mike Cali over at Orlando Pinstriped Post seems pretty broken up about Hezonja leaving. That’s usually a good sign if you’re the team that got the player!

— Dashiell Nusbaum wrote about Hezonja last year on Push The Pace, and seemed pretty bullish about his potential to still become something in the NBA. (Thanks to commenter It Takes A Village To Raise Chris Childs for this one.)

— Forbes’ Tommy Beer (a Knicks Twitter stalwart) seems very high on the Hezonja signing as well. Praise all around? What’s going on here?!

— Jeffrey Bellone (AKA Knicks Film School on Twitter, from The Knicks Wall) checked out the tape on Hezonja:

OK, feeling good about Hezonja yet? Here’s some other stuff to chew on:

— The Knicks are reportedly interested in recently-released Suns big Alan Williams for the second straight summer. From Berman:

After inking Mario Hezonja on the first full day of free agency Sunday, the Knicks still could use a rebounding power forward and have inquired about Suns big man Alan Williams, according to an NBA source. Williams was waived Monday and must clear. The Knicks chased Williams hard last July before he opted to stick with Phoenix.


The Knicks are trying to make more roster moves by attempting to trade Courtney Lee’s and Joakim Noah’s long-term contracts.

If they sign Williams, the Knicks also may have to release rehabbing combo guard Ron Baker, who will miss summer league because of the February shoulder injury that ended his 2017-18 season.

— Hell yeah, Kevin Knox:

— The Undefeated’s C. Isaiah Smalls II (hell of a name!) wrote about SummerKnick Tyrius Walker and his difficult journey trying to find a spot in the NBA.

— We’ve heard that David Fizdale is really into the fundamentals, and that’s bearing out so far:

If you care to read a little more about Fizdale and summer league prep, here’s a whole story from Berman (he’s been working hard this week!).

— Stefan Bondy of the NYDN reports that Knox has combatted his reputation for not giving 100 percent effort by getting his conditioning up.

— Also from Bondy, David Fizdale sees some big moves on the horizon:

“We knew coming into this July there wasn’t a lot of money to spend, we wanted to be real strategic with who went after and if it fit the kind of guys we wanted to have here,” Fizdale said. “I felt like we’ve done that and now we can just lock in, get into the group we have, start developing these guys, growing these guys, let them go through the ups and downs. And as we get our culture in place, KP gets healthy, we start moving into next summer, I really feel like we’ll have the bricks in place to make some big moves.”

— Harley Geffner at The Knicks Wall tries to get to the bottom of the mystery that is Mitchell Robinson.

— Daily Knicks’ Maxwell Ogden has the FUEGO take that Enes Kanter opting in is actually a good thing, and even has five reasons to prove it!

That’s all I got for today, folks! Til next time!