Report: Mario Hezonja signs with New York Knicks
Former fifth overall pick Mario Hezonja has committed to the New York Knicks.
As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Hezonja chose the Knicks among several teams who tried to recruit him. He was reportedly attracted to the recent coaching change in the Knicks organization:
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
Hezonja was the fifth overall pick back in 2015 by the Orlando Magic. In three years with the Magic, the 23-year-old logged in 6.9 points per game, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. In his first year, he played 79 games, logging in 17.9 minutes per contest. Come his third year, he played 75 games, 30 of which were starts. He played 22.1 minutes per contest. In last year’s offseason, the Magic opted not to pick up Hezonja’s fourth-year option.
After receiving the news, the Croatian native said then, per NBA.com:
“This is not going to change anything and I’m still going to be working hard on my game and still coming with the same mentality to try and get even better. I’m here to play and I didn’t come from home to here to watch. The goal for me is to play. I’ll do what Coach asks me to do, but I want to play. … I wish I had been playing in these three years so that this (contract extension) could be judged by my playing time. But this way, it looks a little weird, but it’s not going to change my mentality.’’
In April, Hezonja discussed in plans for the free agency, noting that the Magic is his first option.