Charlotte Hornets: Why trading Willy Hernangomez to Rockets works

Charlotte Hornets Willy Hernangomez. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Willy Hernangomez. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Even after losing to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, the Charlotte Hornets may still be able to help them out with a trade.

With under 24 hours until the NBA trade deadline, many trade scenarios can still happen for the Charlotte Hornets. As for now, one of those can be a simple trade to unload a small expiring contract.

On Wednesday, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported that the Houston Rockets were closing in on a deal for a center. The Rockets have been talking to two Eastern Conference teams, and have even said that they are willing to take on additional salary in exchange for assets.

Lucky for them, the Hornets currently have a center who is making $1.5 million in the final year of his contract. The Hornets have not stated if they plan to trade Willy Hernangomez, but he seems like an option that will help the Rockets financially and give Charlotte a small return.

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For half of the season, the Hornets have not played Hernangomez. The Hornets have played 51 games, and Hernangomez has only gotten the chance to play in twenty-two of them.

After being drafted by the New York Knicks, Hernangomez was a member of the 2016-17 All-Rookie 1st Team. Since then, Hernangomez has not had the chance to continue what he was able to accomplish during his rookie season.

So far this season, Willy Hernangomez has averaged 5.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. After overcoming limited playing time, Hernangomez managed to earn the chance to be the Hornets’ backup center; he took this spot from Bismack Biyombo.

In Hernangomez’s previous five games, he’s averaged 10.4 points and six rebounds per game. During that five-game stretch, Hernangomez came way with his first double-double of the season.

Hernangomez has been an effective rebounder when he gets minutes, but he lacks the ability to be a consistent rim protector. The Rockets lost a good rim protector when they traded Clint Capela, and they might not like Hernangomez’s inability to play consistent defense.

However, the Rockets lack size in their frontcourt, and this will be a problem for them. The Rockets may be able to look past Hernangomez’s defensive abilities because of how affordable his contract is too.

In this kind of trade, I only see the Hornets receiving a bench player or a future draft pick from the Rockets. Overall, a deal regarding Hernangomez would financially work for both teams.

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Sending Willy Hernangomez to the Rockets would be the opportunity of a lifetime for him. With the Rockets, he would finally get the chance to receive more consistent playing time and maybe get the opportunity to start.