Bo Cruz has a new team! Jauncho Hernangomez impressed everyone with his acting debut as an aspiring NBA prospect named Bo Cruz in the Netflix basketball movie “Hustle” with Adam Sandler. Hernangomez, a journeyman forward during his NBA career, has signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Raptors.
In real life, Hernangomez was a star basketball prospect in Madrid, Spain before he caught the eye of NBA scouts. The Denver Nuggets selected him with the #15 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He had a tough time adapting to the NBA and spent 3.5 seasons with the Nuggets before they traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the winter of 2020.
It looked like he finally found a place to thrive in Minnesota. In 14 games with the Timberwolves, he averaged a career-best 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game before the season was shut down due to the pandemic. He lost his starting job in the 2020-21 season and had a falling out with the front office when they denied him the opportunity to play for Spain in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.
Six teams in 12 months
The Raptors mark the sixth team for Hernangomez since the end of the 2020-2021 season. He was traded twice in a three-week period last summer, and then traded twice in a three-week period last winter.
After spending 1.5 seasons with the Timberwolves, Minnesota traded Hernangomez to the Memphis Grizzlies last August. He never suited up for the Grizzlies because, three weeks later, the Grizzlies traded him to the Boston Celtics.
Hernangomez languished on the bench and saw garbage-time action in only 18 games in Boston. The Celtics traded him to the San Antonio Spurs in January. He appeared in five games before the Spurs shipped him to the Utah Jazz prior to the trade deadline.
Hernangomez played in 17 games with the Jazz, starting nine and averaging 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 43.8% from 3-point range. The Jazz cut him at the end of the season when he became a free agent.
Raptors trade rumors: KD
Hernangomez joins a forward-heavy team in Toronto, especially after they signed Otto Porter, Jr. Porter was a key bench player for the Golden State Warriors who helped them win the 2022 NBA Championship.
The Raptors are on the shortlist of teams that could acquire Kevin Durant in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are also in the mix, but the Raptors have an optimal combination of young players and draft picks to send to the Nets for Durant.
The Raptors would have to part ways with Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes or Pascal Siakim to entice the Nets to work out a deal. OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher are also mentioned in trade rumors for Durant. If the Raptors add Durant and have to give up a couple of starters, Hernangomez could see a significant boost in playing time.
If the Raptors don’t acquire Durant, Hernangomez will struggle to find playing time behind Barnes, Porter, Boucher, and Anunoby. Barnes played so well as a rookie last season that Anunoby saw his role minimized as the season went on. Anunoby wants to have a bigger impact on the offensive end of the court, which is why he requested a trade. The Portland Trail Blazers are interested in Anunoby, so if he leaves the Raptors, that’s one less player Hernangomez will compete against for a coveted spot in Nick Nurse’s rotation.