1. The Implications Of A One-Year Deal
When the New York Knicks were first linked to Mario Hezonja, one couldn’t help but wonder if his strong showing in 2017-18 was an example of contract-year syndrome. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, players often play above their consistent capabilities to earn a new deal in free agency—and never reach that level again.
By signing Hezonja to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million, however, the Knicks have put him in a position where he must again earn his keep.
Had the Knicks signed Hezonja to a multi-year contract, complacency could’ve been a realistic outcome. The 23-year-old showed how committed he is to basketball in 2017-18, but there was a rational fear that it was a response to the Orlando Magic declining his fourth-year player option.
In 2018-19, Hezonja will be tasked with playing for his career without the built-in motivation of attempting to get back at the organization that spited him.
If Hezonja plays well in 2018-19, the Knicks will have every reason to re-sign him during the summer of 2019. If he fails to build upon his success from 2017-18, however, there will be no financial commitment to him beyond this season—a system of accountability.
In the event that Hezonja improves for a second consecutive season, then the Knicks could help instill a consistent mentality.
There are areas in which Mario Hezonja must improve, but the New York Knicks have handed out the prototypical low-risk, high-reward contract.