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Willy Hernangomez Agrees to 3-year Contract to Stay with Pelicans

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 6, 2021

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Center Willy Hernangomez has an agreement in place to return to the New Orleans Pelicans in free agency.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Hernangomez's agents said the 27-year-old big man has agreed to a three-year contract with the Pels.

Hernangomez spent the 2020-21 season with the Pelicans after signing a one-year deal in free agency. He previously played for the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets during his five-year NBA career.

The 6'11" native of Spain averaged 7.8 points and a career-high 7.1 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game last season. He also shot a career-high 56.3 percent from the field.

While Hernangomez primarily came off the bench last season (12 starts in 47 games), just as he has throughout his career, he gave the Pels solid production behind Steven Adams, who was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason as part of a move that brought back Jonas Valanciunas.

With Valanciunas poised to occupy the starting center role in New Orleans, Hernangomez figures to play similar minutes in 2021-22 and beyond.

Hernangomez has appeared in 256 regular-season games during his NBA career, averaging 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 53.7 percent from the floor.

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He is also coming off representing Spain at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo where he averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game before Spain was eliminated by the United States in the quarterfinals.

With Valanciunas, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Devonte' Graham, the Pelicans should have a decent starting lineup next season, and Hernangomez figures to complement it well.

Retaining Hernangomez gives incoming head coach Willie Green frontcourt depth, and it's a move that could help the Pels contend for a playoff spot after missing the postseason the past three seasons.

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