Mario Hezonja
(Mary Altaffer / AP Photo)

David Fizdale is fulfilling a promise to Mario Hezonja. He’s letting him start when the New York Knicks face his old team.

David Fizdale is making good on a promise he made to Mario Hezonja earlier this season. When the New York Knicks head coach saddled Hezonja with a DNP-CD in the team’s first trip to Orlando, he promised it would not happen again.

As a result, Hezonja will start against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Luke Kornet is bounced from the starting lineup, but he should still see significant minutes.

Hezonja has only faced his former team once this season. In a matchup from early November, Hezonja scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Obviously, he’s looking to exact some revenge on his former team.

Furthermore, Hezonja is looking to shake off DNP-CD’s in his last two games. The last time he saw the floor was against the Toronto Raptors on March 28 and he was yanked for missing a defensive assignment. Fizdale was visibly upset with Hezonja after he failed to hustle back and defend with his teammates.

Clearly, Fizdale isn’t holding a grudge against the forward and hopefully, Hezonja heard the message loud and clear. Every player on the Knicks is auditioning for something at this point in the season. The Croatian forward is a free agent at the end of the season and playing for his next contract.

It’s unclear where he will end up, but every minute counts. Perhaps a revenge game against his former team will be the motivation Hezonja needs to perform well.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.