The New York Knicks seemed like the favorites to land Mario Hezonja, and now it’s official. Hezonja will be with the Knicks next season.
The New York Knicks made their first strike in free agency. While the rest of the league was focused on LeBron James signing with the Lakers, New York signed former Orlando Magic swingman Mario Hezonja.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported it first (of course) but shortly after Woj sent out his tweet, Hezonja sent out a tweet of his own. In the photo, he leaves little to the imagination as he’s wearing a Knicks shirt.
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
The Knicks have been linked to some free agents so far, but their top target was Hezonja. General manager Scott Perry was a part of the Magic front office when they drafted Hezonja with the No. 5 pick in 2015.
Per Woj, there was a competition for Hezonja’s services between New York and three other teams: Portland, Sacramento and Memphis. The Knicks were able to close the deal due to Mario’s faith in head coach David Fizdale. The hire is already paying off.
The proclamation from team president Steve Mills to hold any free agent to a one-year deal was fulfilled. Hezonja’s contract is for one-year and $6.5 million.
It’s a great deal for both sides. The Knicks get to take a flier on an upside guy, and Hezonja receives a prove it contract. Some of these deals pan out, and some don’t, but Hezonja will have the opportunity to succeed in New York.