Jazz Must Decide On Hernangomez Ahead Of Free Agency

Jun 29, 2022, 2:23 PM
Utah Jazz forward Juancho Hernangomez (41) moves downcourt during the game against the Orlando Magic at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz have a decision to make on the contract of Juancho Hernangomez ahead of Thursday’s NBA free agency.

The Spanish forward’s contract has a team option worth $7.3 million next season, but the Jazz must decide on his future by June 30.

Hernangomez was acquired with Nickeil Alexander-Waker at the trade deadline last season in exchange for longtime Jazz guard Joe Ingles.

Originally an afterthought in the trade, Hernangomez quickly earned the trust of former head coach Quin Snyder due to his length and energy and displaced veteran Rudy Gay in the team’s playoff rotation.

However, with the team facing luxury tax implications next season, picking up Hernangomez’s contract could prove to be too expensive.

Should the Jazz waive Hernangomez, the team is free to pursue him in free agency if they want to bring him back next season at a lower cost. But, Hernangomez would be free to negotiate with other teams across the NBA if he were to become a free agent.

Hernangomez averaged 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting an impressive 44 percent from the free-throw line in 17 appearances with the Jazz last season.

Jazz Free Agency Primer

NBA free agency opens on Thursday at 4 pm MT, though the Jazz have limited options for significant movement.

The Jazz will have the taxpayer mid-level exception worth roughly $6.5 million at their disposal and can fill out the rest of their roster with players on minimum NBA contracts.

Danny Ainge, Justin Zanik, and newly hired assistant general manager David Fizdale also have a $9.7 million trade exception they could use to acquire a player according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Excluding Hernangomez, the Jazz have 10 players under contract already for the 2022-23 season, plus the two-way contract of rookie Johnny Juzang.

That leaves the team with five open roster spots heading into free agency, plus one two-way contract spot.

Eric Paschall and Trent Forrest are both restricted free agents this summer, giving the Jazz the option to match any deal they may receive on the open market.

Hassan Whiteside and Danuel House, who were both in the Jazz playoff rotation last season are unrestricted free agents.

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