Former No. 5 Overall Pick Likely to Make NBA Return After 4-Year Absence

It's been a long, strange trip over the last four years for the former No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. But according to basketball insider Marc Stein, 6'8" forward Mario Hezonja is expected to make a comeback to the NBA this coming season for the first time since 2020.

Stein says "don't be surprised to see him back in the league... (he) is increasingly coming up as a free agent to watch this offseason when it comes to an NBA return."

Hezonja has spent the last two seasons at Real Madrid in Spain, and was in Greece and Russia in his first two seasons after leaving the NBA. He's been regularly in double-digits in scoring overseas, while shooting in and around 40% from three-point range. 

The Croatian was expected to sign on this summer with Barcelona on a long-term deal, but it seems that the Spanish club pulled out of the deal. 

Now 29, he last played in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2019-2020, scoring 4.8 points with 3.5 rebounds in 16 minutes a night. 

After being drafted by the Orlando Magic 5th overall in 2015, he played three years in Central Florida, and averaged 6.9 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 33% from beyond the arc, playing 18 minutes a game. 

From there, he spent one season with the New York Knicks, scoring 8.8 points per game with 4.1 rebounds in 20.8 minutes a game over 58 contests. 

Before he was drafted, Hezonja played for Barcelona for three years. 

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