Knicks head coach David Fizdale recently spoke about the challenges presented by having a roster packed with free-agents-to-be who might be tempted to focus on improving their stock for the summer rather than playing team-first ball. However, Mario Hezonja believes he’s been able to stick to Fizdale’s desired style of play despite his upcoming unrestricted free agency, as he tells Marc Berman of The New York Post.
“I don’t give a s–t that I’m a free agent,” Hezonja said. “I’m trying to help these guys as well. I don’t give a s–t about myself. I’ll be fine. Trust me. I’ll be fine. With my basketball skill, talent and abilities, I’ll always be fine. I just want to help these guys with stuff I’ve been through in my career in both Europe and here.
“I know it’s a very sensitive situation here with a lot of free agents and a lot of young guys I’m trying to help. If I see something in practice, I try to correct them. We have to continue to show togetherness and finish on a good note. A lot of teams don’t achieve playoffs they just give up.”
After playing well to finish the 2017/18 season, Hezonja turned down multiple two-year contract offers to join the Knicks on a one-year deal, but it has been a tough year for him in New York. He’s averaging 7.6 PPG with a career-low .277 3PT%, and the club has the worst record in the NBA. Nonetheless, the former fifth overall pick says he doesn’t regret his free agent decision, adding that he loves New York and hopes to extend his stay with the Knicks beyond this season.
“Even though it’s a bad, rough season individually and as a team, I feel I have [the] support of the city,” Hezonja said.
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- James Dolan‘s latest public run-in with a fan – which saw the Knicks’ owner instruct MSG security to detain a customer who yelled at him to “sell the team” – is a reminder that Dolan is “thin-skinned and utterly clueless about the franchise he has run into the ground,” according to Frank Isola of The Athletic, who wonders whether Dolan’s baggage will have an impact on the team’s ability to attract star free agents.
- Former Knick Charles Oakley is among those who would advise stars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to avoid the club in free agency, as he tells Dolan. “If you want to be in New York, look at the Nets. [GM] Sean Marks has done a great job. The Nets have better pieces,” Oakley said. “You come to the Knicks … it won’t be easy.”
- After attending the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to watch Murray State point guard Ja Morant, Knicks GM Scott Perry will be at this week’s ACC Tournament to get a look at Zion Williamson and other top prospects, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. President of basketball operations Steve Mills will also likely be on hand at the tournament, which will feature players like R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Nassir Little as well.
15 thoughts on “Knicks Notes: Hezonja, Dolan, Scouting”
I think that the Nets are better set up for the future. That roster has lots of talent. Jarrett Allen might be one of the NBA’s most underrated centers, Caris LeVert can straight up get buckets, D-Lo has found a new form, and guys like Kurucs and RHJ have untapped potential. Cap space and draft picks moving forward is huge for them.
Charles Oakley is obviously biased and has a vendetta against the team, but he’s also not wrong.
Way to go Oak! True he hates Dolan but he speaks the truth! Man I hope the Nets catch a big fish while the Knicks are forced to resign Hezonja and pick up Jarrett Jack off the scrap heap.
That would be a treat.
Correction, he has a vendetta against Dolan, not the Knicks.
The Clippers, Knicks, Lakers, and Celtics have gotten a ton of run concerning what they might do in the offseason. Casual fans – and the LAZY press – are sleeping on Brooklyn.
They’ve got a good young core and probably the best cap situation in the league. They could easily add two max deals, but really don’t need to.
Hezonja is trying to stay in the NBA soooo bad with these comments. Also Frank Isola and Oakley hit the nail on the head. No legitimate superstar free agent wants this circus.
Hezonja doesn’t need to stay in the NBA he was a euroleague superstar, so as he said he will always be ok.
DA- agree, that’s the best explanation of those words. Unless he is right, and the kids like him around, and the Knicks want to take care of them… but N’kina is the only young foreigner and he is not in future plans.
Wish the NBA could swoop in and force the sale all you hear is how the Knicks being relevant is good for the league and yet you have an owner that clearly is adding to the disfunction and a stain on the image of the NBA.
The Nets are the team better set up for the future and right now. They also come with the “glamor” of playing in New York without the media circus that comes with playing for the Knicks. Ownership has taken a step back in regards to their involvement and the front office and coaching staff are trending in the right direction.
On the other hand, you have the Knicks with arguably the worst owner in sports and a coach who many people seem to be conflicted about (a player-friendly coach who was fired in Memphis because he basically alienated their at-the-time franchise player in Gasol). The Knicks do have a front office that seems to be doing the right things and a potential top 3 pick but the team will always be a mess with Dolan in charge. Granted Dolan deserves a tiny shred of respect as the owner, the Oakley incident and this most recent incident show that he doesn’t really care about former Knicks players or the fans. Whether or not the fan was in the right to say what he said, threatening a fan to having him banned from MSG because he said “Sell the team” is a good way to alienate the fanbase. As a basketball fan, I would find it hard to support and respect a team when the people in charge of the team can’t respect their fans.
This isn’t even Dolan’s first fan interaction. He’s had plenty. He’s terrible for the Knicks and terrible for the NBA. I’m a Knicks fan, but I refuse to patronize them as long as Dolan owns them. He’s embarrassing.
with a CLOWN for an owner NYK will always be irrelevant in top free agents so all of us knicks fans have to hope for the 2nd tier guys and a #1 pick sad sad sad days in MSG but I guess if you can bar all your critics the garden must be heaven for this clown
Dolan is a joke, and not even a good one at that
If I was KD or Kawhi, BK Nets would be the team in NY I would want to play with. Have all the pieces except the one star player to be championship quality