Trail Blazers swingman Mario Hezonja will pick up his player option, opting in for the 2020/21 season, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). As a result, Hezonja will forgo free agency until 2021 and will lock in a $1,977,011 guaranteed salary with Portland for the upcoming season.
[RELATED: NBA Player Option Decisions For 2020/21]
Hezonja, 25, averaged a career-worst 4.8 PPG in a part-time role for the Blazers in 2019/20. In 53 games (16.4 MPG), he chipped in 3.5 RPG and shot just 42.2% from the field, including 30.8% on three-pointers.
Although he was the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Hezonja has failed to develop into a reliable rotation player in Orlando, New York, or Portland since entering the league. It’s not even a certainty he would have received minimum-salary offers if he had opted for free agency this fall, so his decision to exercise his option comes as no surprise — we’ll see if he sticks with the Blazers or gets included in a trade before the 2021 deadline.
Accounting for Hezonja’s modest salary doesn’t impact the Blazers’ cap outlook in any real way. Portland projects to be an over-the-cap team this offseason.
Rodney Hood, who is coming off an Achilles tear, is the other Blazer who holds a player option for 2020/21. The expectation is that he’ll pick up his $6MM option.