Willy Hernangomez is prepared to leave New York and his best friend Kristaps Porzingis.
Hernangomez wants to remain a Knick, but he also wants to play and develop. If that’s not going to happen with the Knicks, he wants the front office to move him someplace where he will by Thursday’s trade deadline. Hernangomez’s agent has expressed that to Knicks’ officials.
“I want to be somewhere where I can have minutes, where I can play and where I can keep developing,” Hernangomez said. “To be able to do that in New York would be amazing, everybody knows I love the city, I love the fans. I love playing with KP. But right now, it’s not happening. So the only thing I really want is to find the best way for my future before Thursday.”
It was always expected that the Knicks would try to trade one of their big men with Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn being the likeliest to go.
If the Knicks moved O’Quinn, who could opt out after the season and walk as a free agent, it could open minutes for Hernangomez. The Knicks are not just going to give away Hernangomez without getting something of value in return for the second-year center.
“I guess something is going to happen,” Hernangomez said. “I want the best way for my future, find the best way, find my playing time somewhere, where I can really play and keep developing. I want to be here and doing that. Right now it’s not happening. We’ll figure it out.”
“I hope we can find the best way for my future, for the franchise’s future, so we both can be happy. Hopefully we can do that before Thursday.
A second-round pick in 2015, Hernangomez was an All-Rookie First-Team selection last season after averaging 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 18.4 minutes. He’s appeared in just 25 games this season, playing 9.2 minutes per.
Once the Knicks acquired Enes Kanter, a skilled offensive center, there was too much duplication with he and Hernangomez.
“Willy has been professional the whole time,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He works hard with the coaches. He’s continuing to work on his game, he’s just a kid who wants to play.”
Hernangomez believes game experience is the only way he will grow and improve.
“You can really learn and develop a lot when you play, the kind of things you just can learn when you’re playing,” he said. “This year for me physically I feel great. I’ve been working two hours in the gym every day. But I really have to play.
“Those feelings, when I do my moves, pass, those feelings I really love to play. I love basketball too much. This year has been really hard for me. Hopefully we can figure it out in a couple days.”