NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the Knicks stumble toward the Feb. 8 trade deadline, speculation is growing that Willy Hernangomez’s days with the team could be numbered.
Several teams have expressed interest in the second-year center, according to multiple reports. The Daily News reported Wednesday that the Utah Jazz are among those teams.
After last season, Hernangomez was widely considered an up-and-comer on the rebuilding Knicks, taking over as the team’s starting center for the final two months of the season. In 72 games (22 starts), the Spaniard averaged 18.4 minutes, 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds.
But he reportedly fell out of favor with coach Jeff Hornacek during training camp this season and sits behind Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn on the depth chart. Hernangomez has played in just 21 of the Knicks’ 48 games, averaging 9.7 minutes, 4.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in those contests.
While the Knicks are believed to be listening to offers for all their centers — and are expected to move one of them by the deadline — the 23-year-old Hernangomez is reportedly drawing the most interest due to his age, his strong performance last season and his team-friendly contract.
And judging by his playing time, he’s likely expendable in the Knicks’ eyes.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Hernangomez told the Daily News after Tuesday night’s loss at Golden State. “The trade deadline is coming. Like I’ve said a couple times, I’m 23, I’m hungry, I want to play. Whatever happens, I’m ready for it.
“I feel good to know that I’m not even playing and a lot of teams are interested in me. That makes you happy. You can see that you did something good and somebody thinks you can be good in this league.”
Some other Knicks drawing trade interest are guard Courtney Lee and forward Lance Thomas.