Rumor: Knicks looking to thin center logjam, as teams express interest in Enes Kanter, Willy Hernangomez
The New York Knicks are looking to slash some of their depth at the center position, mired in a logjam since the start of the season. According to a report by ESPN’s Ian Begley, many teams have expressed interest in 23-year-old Willy Hernangomez, who hasn’t logged much playing time this season, compared to the heavy minutes he saw as a starter in 2016-17.
Hernangomez has been out of coach Jeff Hornacek’s rotation, but his age and upside have created a deep interest by teams looking to make a move this deadline. His strong performance last season with averages of 8.2 points, 7.0 rebounds in 18 minutes per game and his team-friendly contract — two more years at roughly $1.5 million — make him a bargain for any team that could land his services.
Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn have also received interest from NBA teams, with the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets eyeing the latter, looking to bolster their frontcourt depth.
“O’Quinn has certainly outperformed his contract,” said David Jacober, a strategic planning consultant for NBA teams. “His diversity on offense makes him attractive to a number of teams, such as Houston and Golden State.”
The remainder of Joakim Noah’s four-year, $72 million contract has been perceived largely as unmovable, given the poor performance during his year of action with the Knicks and the ever-growing concern with his injury history over the years.
Regardless, the Knicks will pursue their options, with Hernangomez thought to might a larger return than Kanter or O’Quinn because of his age and contract. Kanter’s $18.6 million and O’Quinn’s $4.2 million contracts both have player options for next season. Executives around the league expect O’Quinn to decline his player-option and test free agency waters this upcoming summer.