With the Knicks signing F Mario Hezonja on Sunday, it seems the return of F Michael Beasley isn't in play any longer.
For one, Hezonja's $6.5 million came out of the Knicks' $8.6 million mid-level exception. To get Beasley back, it was expected the Knicks would have to cough up the entire mid-level exception.
Instead, they get Hezonja -- a forward that has the ability to play both the 3 and 4 on the floor. But can Hezonja's versatilty make him a viable replacment to Beasley, who was a critical piece of the Knicks a season ago?
Looking at the numbers, Beasley was superior to Hezonja last season. The 6-foot-9 "walking bucket" averaged 13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and shot 50.7 percent from the field over 22.3 minutes per game. Hezonja's time on the floor was a tick less than Beasley (22.1 mins/g), but he ended up averaging 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and shot 44.2 percent.
Beasley was also a strong defender for the Knicks, especially in the low post. Some scouts are skeptical that Hezonja has the ability to defend taller power forwards being in between at 6-foot-8. However, he did average 1.1 steals per game last season compared to Beasley's 0.5 per game.
It will be up to new head coach David Fizdale to figure out what he wants exactly from Hezonja. The 23-year-old is known to be a smooth shooter, but his numbers haven't proved that yet. He averaged just 33.7 percent from downtown last season.
But the Knicks could be banking on his youth and developmental window that many of the team are in as well. Hezonja wasn't picked fifth overall -- one spot after Kristaps Porzingis -- in the 2015 NBA Draft for no reason.
The talent is there, but will he have the same impact as the veteran Beasley in the end? His one-year deal leaves no margin for error.