The Knicks’ 23-year-old center, primed for a successful career in New York, could be out the door sooner than expected in the latest rumor mill.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania, Guillermo “Willy” Hernangómez is interested in a change in scenery, specifically one with less time on the bench.
After falling out of the rotation this season due to strong play by starting center Enes Kanter and reliable backup Kyle O’Quinn, Hernangómez has become disillusioned with patience for ample playing time. His early season optimism gone, the 23-year-old is ready to see more court than the pine, and he’s willing to leave the New York Knicks to do it.
The EuroLeague alumnus was named All-Rookie First Team and was once dubbed Rookie of the Month in his first season as a Knickerbocker. This season, however, he has played in only 25 games and averaged 9.2 minutes per contest. Before the NBA, Willy played on Real Madrid and Seville (the latter with Kristaps Porzingis). Hernangómez was drafted in the second round by Philadelphia in 2015, however, the 76ers traded the draft rights immediately to New York.
According to the rumor mill that churns out extra gossip during the upcoming trade deadline (Thursday), interested teams include the Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, and … the Orlando Magic (because why the hell not?).
Orlando Magic Forward Aaron Gordon is reportedly on the trading block, and Utah Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood has garnered interest from several teams. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Knicks found themselves packaging Hernangómez with a veteran or participating in a three-team deal to facilitate a deal.
A gem of the dismal 2016–17 season, Hernangómez averaged 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds over 72 games his rookie year, but his production has fallen to 4.4 points and 2.6 rebounds due to a drastic decrease in playing time. Per Basketball-Reference, only Shaquille O’Neal and Willy Hernangómez have averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds per 36 minutes in their rookie seasons (h/t Tommy Beer).