Nets Rumors: Brooklyn Interested in Aaron Gordon's Teammate Mario Hezonja

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2018

Orlando Magic's Mario Hezonja moves the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets may dip into the free-agency waters this summer, but it may not be for some of the big names the fans might be expecting, like Clint Capela or Aaron Gordon. 

According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, "Brooklyn definitely has interest in Gordon's teammate, Mario Hezonja, 23. That's the kind of neighborhood they're shopping in."

Lewis continued:

"Hezonja hasn't lived up to his billing as the No. 5 pick in 2015, but the Nets have liked him for some time and are known to do the reclamation-project thing. After acquiring the No. 2 (D'Angelo Russell) and No. 3 (Jahlil Okafor) picks in that same draft, and the No. 8 pick from 2014 (Nik Stauskas), Hezonja could be the latest roll of the dice."

Hezonja averaged just 6.9 points and 1.3 assists per game in his three seasons with the Orlando Magic. The slashing wing never developed a threatening perimeter game either, shooting just 33.2 percent from beyond the arc.

He did show some potential when Orlando started him during the 2017-18 season, though, averaging 14 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in those 30 games while shooting 46 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three.

If Hezonja indeed turned a corner, his upside is tantalizing. He's always had the length and athleticism to be a dangerous player on the wing, and if he adds a consistent perimeter shot, he could be a dynamic offensive threat. 

In Brooklyn, he would likely be given the minutes to improve. While the team has a bevy of options on the wing in Allen Crabbe, Caris LaVert, DeMarre Carroll and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the Nets wouldn't sign Hezonja if they didn't believe he could contribute. Carroll isn't a part of the long-term vision of the team, while Hollis-Jefferson has impressive athleticism but shot just 24.1 percent from three last season. 

Hezonja is the sort of reclamation project that would absolutely make sense for Brooklyn, and at a price that will be more feasible than other free agents will fetch on the market this summer.

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