GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Knicks are not ruling out additional trades in the wake of the Willy Hernangomez deal as the NBA trade deadline approaches on Thursday at 3 p.m.
Center Kyle O'Quinn and wing Courtney Lee are the two most prominently mentioned names after Hernangomez. The 23-year-old center was traded Thursday to Charlotte for two second-round picks and forward Johnny O'Bryant one day after his best friend, Kristaps Porzingis, went down for the season with an ACL tear. O'Bryant will be waived.
"I don't want to project any deals, what may or may not come out but whatever we decide to do it will definitely be well thought out," Knicks GM Scott Perry said Thursday. "It will be part of the plan that we want to follow and be disciplined to and so if that involves acquiring a pick or another player and we feels that's going to help us, we would do that."
By trading away Hernangomez, the Knicks not only eased their glut at center, but are replenishing their bushel of draft picks going forward.
"We were without second round picks in 2020 and 2021 - we value first- and second-round picks," Perry said. "It's going to provide flexibility for us in a number of ways and we felt it was a good deal for us in our efforts to continue to build this team."
The Knicks were already planning for the future before the Porzingis injury and will now focus even more on adding draft picks and flexibility while also playing their younger guys more. They still have their first-round pick this year, plus two second-rounders.
"I think the fact that we were able to get two [picks] in a deal like that and really kind of fit to our plan of acquiring picks in those years," Perry said. "Historically with this franchise, there have not been a lot of picks involved and we talked about wanting to build something sustainable and I think one of the most important parts of that is having a cupboard full of picks if you will. And I think this deal allowed us to do that. We have all of our picks in place and we can add other young athletes or use the picks in other ways to obtain talent."
Perry said he wished Hernangomez the best of luck, but said the center who made the All-Rookie team last year just wasn't in their plans in New York.
"Obviously it was a difficult year for him," Perry said. "Coming into the year he had high hopes of playing a lot and right before the training camp we made that trade and Enes Kanter came in here and he's another young player who came in here and played great and really carved out a lot of minutes and became the starter quickly for us. And Kyle O'Quinn has done a terrific job as well coming in and earning the minutes so the playing time was just not there for him."
Meantime, the Knicks will continue to develop younger players like Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina, while also giving an opportunity to G League guys like Luke Kornet from Vanderbilt and Isaiah Hicks from North Carolina, both of whom are on Two-Way contracts.
"There's going to be an opportunity for a lot of the young players to get out there and show what they can do," Perry said. "We've got a couple of our guys who have performed very well in our G League franchise that will be having an opportunity now to come up and play in Isaiah Hicks and Luke Kornet at various times throughout the remainder of the season. They've earned that opportunity and it would be a good opportunity for us to see just how good they can be for this franchise moving forward. The rest of the guys that are in the locker room, it's an opportunity for them to grow and play and maybe their roles get expanded now that such an integral part of the team is out."
As the deadline approaches, Perry said he's always on the lookout for a trade that could help the team.
"If there's a deal that we feel is going to make our team better not only in the short term, but in the long run, we're going to be open to doing it," he said. "Now that won't change as I'm long here, regardless of where were at record-wise. That's just my philosophy and that won't change as long as I'm here, which is to be open to doing something as long as it will make this team better."