Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has acquired center Willy Hernangomez from the New York Knicks in exchange for forward Johnny O’Bryant and Charlotte’s 2020 and 2021 second-round draft picks.
“We’re excited to add a player of Willy’s caliber to our team,” said Cho. “He showed last season that he can contribute when given the opportunity and we believe that the added depth he provides will benefit our frontcourt rotation.”
An NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2016-17, Hernangomez was originally selected by Philadelphia with the 35th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft before having his rights traded to New York. He played in 98 career games (22 starts) for the Knicks, with averages of 7.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per contest, while shooting .549 from the field.
As a rookie last season, the 23-year-old Hernangomez saw action in 72 games, averaging 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 18.4 minutes and being selected for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend. He made his first career start on January 31, 2017, and from then through the end of the season, Hernangomez averaged 11.5 points on .523 shooting from the field, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists over his final 31 games played. During the 31-game stretch, which included 22 starts, he scored in double figures 20 times and grabbed 10 or more rebounds 14 times, recording nine double-doubles. Over the season’s final two and a half months, he led all rookies in rebounding and ranked eighth among rookies in scoring, earning Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors for April.
Hernangomez, who averaged 4.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 26 games played for New York this season, is also a member of the Spanish Senior National Team. He represented his country in the 2016 Olympics and the FIBA European Championship in 2015 and 2017, helping Spain to a gold medal in 2015 and bronze medals in both 2016 and 2017.
O’Bryant originally joined the Hornets on February 24, 2017, signing a pair of 10-day contracts and then for the remainder of the season. He averaged 4.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game in 40 total appearances with the Hornets.