New York Knicks Must Trade Willy Hernangomez Like Philadelphia 76ers Did Jahlil Okafor [Opinion]

David ZalubowskiAP Images

In a season where the New York Knicks were to shed away the baggage left by Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony, they’re still being haunted. While the Knicks are busy trying to figure out their point guard situation, another position is causing just as much trouble. The New York Knicks find themselves in the same predicament the Philadelphia 76ers were in with Jahlil Okafor. With Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, Joakim Noah, and Willy Hernangomez all battling for minutes, it has the Knicks in a tight spot.

The Knicks should take a cue from the 76ers. At one time, Okafor was the official face of the 76ers but the addition of Joel Embiid pushed Okafor to the background. In 2017, everything came to a head as the 76ers benched Okafor until being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in December of 2017. Now, the Knicks are in the same situation with the young Hernangomez.

Hernangomez, once viewed as the center of the future for the New York Knicks according to Fansided, is easily the forgotten man. With O’Quinn mentioned in trade rumors, Noah viewed as non-tradeable, and Kanter being a force, the Knicks are at least four deep at the center position

The old saying is that you can never have enough bodies, however, concerning the New York Knicks that doesn’t hold true. Hernangomez himself has questioned his place on the team and when that happens, much like for Okafor, it’s time for both parties to move on. The Knicks are in a fragile place now, and there’s no need to add more fuel to the fire by casting away a young player and forcing him to defend himself in the media.

Scott Perry is fighting an uphill battle thanks to the mess that Jackson left behind. The Knicks are dangling players as trade bait but no one is biting. O’Quinn is a high-energy guy but even with him gone, that still leaves three bodies. The main issue is Noah. The Knicks have said the right things about wanting to keep Noah, but the truth is, he should be traded or brought out.

This season, Hernangomez has played in only 17 games but he hasn’t seen the floor in six of their last eight. In 2016, the rookie averaged eight points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes of action but that was also due to Noah’s injury and no Kanter then. It’s fair to say that at the age of just 23, he still has a great shelf life in the NBA, but where does he get his chance?

Why is Hernangomez still in NY if his services are no longer needed? If Jeff Hornacek has plans to only play Kanter, O’Quinn and Noah then why not trade Willy Hernangomez and do the right thing here? The Philadelphia 76ers had to let go of their ego and do the same with Jahlil Okafor.