In the Brooklyn Nets’ quest to further bolster their defensive front, they had their eyes on one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ big men. While adding Kevin Love would be nice, he is not the only Cavaliers big man that the Nets have had their eyes on. In August, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported that the Nets have also shown interest in former Cavaliers’ center Isaiah Hartenstein, who they have been gushing over dating back to his days in the G-League.
“The Nets have had a long flirtation with Hartenstein. They liked the 7-footer in the 2017 draft, and he dominated against their affiliate, Long Island, in the 2019 G-League Finals, when he was named MVP while playing for Rio Grande,” Lewis wrote. “A source told The Post the Nets were even interested in signing Hartenstein before the 2020 NBA bubble, but he was ineligible for the playoffs due to the date he’d been waived.”
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Isaiah Hartenstein Signs With Los Angeles Clippers
While the Nets had high hopes for signing Hartenstein this offseason, those hopes have come crashing down. The former G-League Finals Most Valuable Player has agreed to a training camp deal with the Los Angeles Clippers according to ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
Lewis’ report of the Nets’ interest in Hartenstein came before the free-agency signings of All-Stars LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap. So their desire to sign the 7-footer has likely decreased significantly since then.
However, Hartenstein had one of the best stretches of his career last season as he put up 8.3 points, 6.0 boards, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 17.9 minutes per game for the Cavaliers. And at 23-years old, he could have been a good fit in their second unit alongside their young center Nic Claxton which could have essentially been their frontcourt for the future.
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Deandre Jordan Speaks on His Relationship With KD & Kyrie
The Nets are the favorites to come out of the East and face the Western Conference favorite Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. While the Lakers may not have youth on their side, they have size. After already having LeBron James and Anthony Davis on their roster they signed Dwight Howard and former Nets center DeAndre Jordan to their frontcourt.
Jordan came to the Nets during 2019 free agency along with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Although he has gone from being their teammate last year to their rival this season, he insists that his feelings toward Kyrie and KD have not changed.
“We’re friends before basketball, after basketball and I think ultimately we all just want to be happy,” Jordan said per ESPN. “And being able to compete is something that’s very important to me and they understand that. And we’re brothers beyond basketball, so us being teammates or not isn’t going to reflect on or affect our relationship.”
The Nets acquired former lottery pick Jahlil Okafor in the trade for Jordan but have officially waived the former Duke star, big man. Still, with the additions of players such as Millsap and James Johnson, their defensive front looks a lot stronger than it did last year after the James Harden trade.