FEBRUARY 8: The Knicks have officially waived O’Bryant, the team announced today (via Twitter).
FEBRUARY 7: The Knicks don’t intend to keep the player they acquired from the Hornets in the Willy Hernangomez trade, according to GM Scott Perry, who told reporters today that forward Johnny O’Bryant will be waived (Twitter link via Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv).
[RELATED: Knicks trade Willy Hernangomez to Hornets]
O’Bryant, 24, appeared in 36 games for Charlotte this season, averaging 4.8 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 10.5 minutes per contest. Before joining the Hornets as a free agent last March, the former LSU standout had also spent time with the Bucks and Nuggets over the course of his four-year NBA career.
Although Hernangomez has a modest $1.4MM cap hit, he’s earning more than the minimum, so the Hornets couldn’t have used the minimum salary exception to acquire him. With no cap space or trade exceptions available, Charlotte had to send out O’Bryant for salary-matching purposes. The Hornets will be ineligible to re-sign the young forward if and when he clears waivers.
As for the Knicks, the decision to cut O’Bryant signals that the Hernangomez was all about landing those two future second-round picks. New York will keep O’Bryant’s $1.52MM cap hit on the books, assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers, and will open up a spot on their 15-man roster once the transaction becomes official.