The New York Knicks have no depth issues at the center position. With four big men contending for playing time, the logjam at the 5 has left some in the cold while providing a showcase for others.
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Ian Begley reported that the Knicks could trade one of their centers before the NBA’s Feb. 8 deadline.
Per Begley, three of the four Knicks centers have garnered attention on the market, the lone one to not generate any trade talks being Joakim Noah, whose large contract and problems both on and off the court make him a target to avoid.
Starting center Enes Kanter has received interest though as he is just 44 games into his Knicks tenure after being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Carmelo Anthony deal. The 25-year-old has quickly developed into a fan favorite thanks to his candid attitude, a willingness to get in the face of the opposition and his tenacity on the boards. He’s also one of the Knicks’ most important offensive assets, averaging 13.5 points to go with 10 rebounds per game.
Kanter has already stated his desire to stay with the Knicks for the long haul, wishing to retire in New York’s blue and orange. He is signed through the 2018-19 season where he is slated to make $18.6 million.
Behind him, Kyle O’Quinn has developed into a vital part of New York’s frontcourt off the bench. On an average of 17 minutes per game, the 27-year-old is giving the Knicks 6.9 points and 5.8 rebounds. Per 36 minutes, those numbers swell to 14.5 points and 12.4 rebounds.
According to Begley, the Golden State Warriors have expressed interest in O’Quinn while the Houston Rockets could also be a possible suitor.
Then comes Willy Hernangomez, the promising 23-year-old who was expected to challenge Kanter for the starting center role heading into this season. However, Hernangomez has been unable to secure any sort of regular playing time, appearing in just 20 games with an average of 9.3 minutes per outing.
Hernangomez showed tons of promise last year in a far-less crowded frontcourt, putting up 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 72 appearances. His showing last season is the main reason why multiple teams have kicked the tires on the Spaniard’s availability, per Begley.