Juancho Hernangomez was a pleasant surprise for the Jazz, but what does his future hold?
The Spanish forward is not too concerned about the future after a good showing with the Utah Jazz after the trade deadline
Juancho Hernangomez is not exactly sure what the future holds, and he’s OK with that.
After being traded to the San Antonio Spurs from the Boston Celtics, and spending just two weeks with the Texas team, he was traded again to the Utah Jazz on Feb. 9. But Hernangomez was not a featured player in that trade deadline deal.
The trade that saw the Jazz say goodbye to Joe Ingles brought in Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a young, rangy guard with a lot of upside, and Hernangomez was viewed as a salary-matching throw-in.
Fast forward a few months later, and Hernangomez was a bright spot for the Jazz and a pleasant surprise considering the number of disappointments the team endured throughout the season and playoffs.
But even though Hernangomez was a pleasant surprise for the Jazz, that doesn’t mean that things are ironed out for him for the future.
The Spanish forward is technically under contract with the Jazz for next season, but his 2022-23 salary is non-guaranteed, meaning the Jazz could choose to move on from him.
While that does make things a little uncertain, he’s not stressing about it.
“I’m not really worried about the contract situation. I haven’t even thought about next year yet,” Hernangomez said on a Zoom call with Utah reporters Friday.
“We’re still watching the things we can do better and the things I can do better as a player and the things I’ve got to start working on this summer to be better, so I’m not really worried about the contract or next year.
“I think I did my best, and we’ll see.”
Not only did Hernangomez almost immediately gain the trust and respect of his Jazz teammates for his work ethic and willingness to adapt, but he also showed some really nuanced, high basketball IQ, things that impressed the coaching staff.
Add into the mix the fact that he shot a career-best 43.8% from 3-point range while with the Jazz, and it made for a really successful few months.
After being traded three times and playing with four teams in less than two years, Hernangomez has had a bit of a resurgence in his career and it’s understandable that he’s not too worried about what will come next.
Plus, he’s looked at the last couple years through a very optimistic lens, learning as much as he can in every stop along the way from the stars on each team.
“For me, it’s just a master class every single day,” he said. “So I’m just happy to keep learning.”
The Jazz have until June 30 to decide whether or not they want to pay Hernangomez the $6.6 million next season.
For a team that projects to once again be well above the luxury tax line, that price tag could be too steep. But, like Hernangomez said, we’ll see.