Trail Blazers Sign Mario Hezonja

JULY 3: Hezonja’s new deal with the Blazers is official, according to the team, which issued a press release today to announce it.

“Mario is a prodigiously talented player with a high ceiling and a bright future,” president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said in a statement. “He will have a chance to contribute immediately while we work to accelerate his development.”

JUNE 30: The Trail Blazers will sign Mario Hezonja to a two-year, minimum-salary deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com tweets. The second year of the pact will be a player option.

Hezonja is coming off an uneven season for the Knicks. The former top-1o pick struggled to find a consistent role for parts of the 2018/19, though he did look impressive as a point guard/facilitator once he received the chance during New York’s final contests.

Portland traded away Evan Turner this offseason and while they received Kent Bazemore in return, they’ll miss Turner’s ball handling. Bazemore projects to be a good fit in Portland’s offense, though he doesn’t have the play-making ability to regularly handle second-unit opportunities.

Hezonja should have an opportunity to secure that role and improve his stock on a talented Portland team. The Croatian-born wing is positioned to re-enter the market next offseason if things go well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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14 thoughts on “Trail Blazers Sign Mario Hezonja

  1. Norm Chouinard

    Had the Knicks highlight play of the year blocking Lebron’s shot in iso coverage as time expired. Had a tough year shooting even with good looks.

  2. Blazers making quality moves, per usual! They’ve got a good recent history of acquiring young, talented players that have been given up on too soon – Harkless, Nurkic, Napier

  3. He’s an unusual mix of talents. He and Fizdale’s “system” didn’t mix, and it was evident after a month that he wouldn’t get a much of a chance. He’s not a spot up shooter, or much of a facilitator off the dribble. But his size, vision and athleticism can make him a good point forward with a second unit.

  4. x%sure

    The press release did not come out and say “point”-something, but it came close. Knicks were generous to play out that PG showcase for him. He can get an offense started from an advantageous (close-in) position. Olshey had a lot of work to do and seems to have done it.

  5. whoneedsfacts

    I really like what the Blazers have done to improve a already solid team. These quiet quality moves should actually move the needle, definitely underrated off season for Portland.

  6. Tazza

    Think the Blazers has one of the best offseason of everyone. Whiteside for garbage was great. He will be close to a 20-15 player if he can get back to his old ways. In starters minutes and forwards that’ll spread the floor he will own the paint. Imagine him with pick and rolls with Lillard and McCollum, it’s going to be awesome. They also got a great young prospect in Nassir Little. He hasnt great in college like we expected but in high school he won MVP and both the McDonalds all american and Jordan classic game over the likes of Rj Barrett, Darius Garland, Coby White, Zion Williamson, Bol Bol and Cam Reddish. So I can definitely see him bouncing back and still being an All Star and a great player. They also flipped Turner for a better shooter and better defender in Bazemore. Brought back Rodney Hood and now taken in a couple cheap PF’s.

  7. Socrates Curveball

    Given limited resources Blazers have had a strong offseason. Fortifying their bench and finding value in Whiteside who’ll be an asset covering the centers the team faces in the East, especially during Nurkic’s absence. In losing so many key bench pieces from last years rotation, I really like the additions here.

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