The New York Knicks’ frontcourt rotation has been confusing this season.
Kristaps Porzingis has logged 32.8 minutes per game, but Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, Michael Beasley, Doug McDermott, Lance Thomas, Joakim Noah and Willy Hernangomez have made appearances alongside him.
Ahead of the NBA’s Trade Deadline on Thursday, one of them could be traded, which would, in turn, give coach Jeff Hornacek less options and a presumably-tighter rotation moving forward.
All frontcourt members not named Porzingis have a strong chance of being dealt, but one player in particular reportedly wants to leave the Big Apple.
And he might have a legitimate reason why.
Willy Hernangomez, who started 22 games and played in 72 for the Knicks last season, has appeared in just 25 games this season in a minimal role. Last year, he averaged an impressive 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in just 18.4 minutes per contest. A close friend to Porzingis, it was presumed that he’d take on a more prominent role as half of one of the league’s best young frontcourts this season.
But then the team traded Carmelo Anthony for Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott. Kanter became the instant starter and O’Quinn beat out Hernangomez to become Kanter’s backup. The result: a lot of sitting for the 23-year-old Spaniard.
On Monday afternoon, Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported that Hernangomez has had enough of New York’s treatment of him.
“Representatives for New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez requested for him to be traded ahead of Thursday’s deadline, league sources told Yahoo Sports,” Charania wrote.
He continued, “Hernangomez’s representatives informed Knicks officials of the trade request in recent days, league sources said, seeking a team in which he can continue his development as a young NBA center. … Several teams have engaged in talks for Hernangomez over the past month, league sources said.”
Hours later, ESPN’s Ian Begley reported that Hernangomez is simply seeking a bigger role and would accept that with the Knicks if they give him minutes.
“With the NBA trade deadline three days away, New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez is looking for a bigger role -- whether it's in New York or with another team, league sources familiar with the matter said,” wrote Begley.
Begley reported that over a dozen teams inquired about the young center. Making just over $1.4 million this season, he will make just under $1.5 million next year before earning just over $1.5 million in 2019-2020, the final year of his rookie deal.
Therefore, based on those numbers, he is even more of an attractive option.
It remains to be seen if the Knicks listen to Hernangomez’s request. They are not obligated to, but their treatment of him this season has been a bit confusing. If they value him as a cornerstone of the team’s future, his lack of playing time makes no sense, especially since no one views the Knicks as true title contenders this year.
If they don’t view him as the future center in New York, they could offload him and most likely gain a solid return based on his rookie-year production and contract figures. Sitting him down on the bench doesn't bode well for the team or the young player.News Now - Sport News