West Contender Named as ‘Obvious Threat’ to Steal Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein

Isaiah Hartenstein, Knicks

Getty Isaiah Hartenstein #55 of the New York Knicks reacts in the first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Oklahoma City Thunder is the biggest threat to steal Isaiah Hartenstein away from the New York Knicks this summer, according to Bleacher Report’s salary cap guru Eric Pincus.

After capturing the Western Conference’s top seed, the Thunder’s lack of size was exposed in their second-round playoff loss to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. The Mavericks’ rim-running rookie Dereck Lively finished at plus-26 in the series-clinching Game 6.

With $33 million in cap space to spend in the offseason, the Thunder would be looking to add more size next to the lanky Chet Holmgren.

“The Thunder are the obvious team with cap space to outspend New York. They need additional size up front, and Hartenstein is still only 26. It makes a lot of sense on paper, but Oklahoma City has to decide that Hartenstein is the right fit,” Pincus wrote.

Hartenstein, a floor-spacing big man with solid passing skill, rebounding and rim protection, could be the missing piece to the Thunder puzzle.

While the Knicks can go over the cap to re-sign Hartenstein using his early Bird rights, the maximum they could offer is a four-year, $72.5 million deal, according to ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks.

“Any interested rival team will have the ability to double that amount — as much as $151.6 million over the same four-year length,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote on May 31.

Isaiah Hartenstein Could Draw $80-100 Million Deal

The 26-year-old center has outplayed his two-year, $16 million deal he signed with the Knicks in 2022 free agency.

He fully took advantage of Mitchell Robinson’s 50-game absence due to an ankle injury to set him up for a massive raise this summer.

In 64 starts, including the playoffs this season, Hartenstein averaged 9.1 rebounds, 8.6 points, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks.

“League executives and cap strategists are projecting Hartenstein will be able to draw at least $80 million, and perhaps upward of $100 million,” Fischer added.

The Thunder could easily offer him that deal to outbid the Knicks and the rest of the competition.

Isaiah Hartenstein Thanks Knicks Fans

Hartenstein thanked the Knicks fans after his career season that culminated with a second-round playoff loss where he started in all postseason games.

“Year 6,” Hartenstein captioned the June 2 video. “Thank you NY for making it so special!! Time to get back to work #foe.”

Did Hartenstein just send his farewell message to the Knicks fans?

On April 5, Hartenstein told Hoopshype’s Michael Scotto that he would return to New York if the Knicks match any offer he would get in free agency.

“I know I’ve put myself in a great position to get a little upgrade,” Hartenstein told Scotto. “Right now, I’m focused on the Knicks. I love it here, and hopefully, we’ll figure something out, but at the end of the day, business is business.”

But when asked if he’d stay in New York, provided they matched any offer he received, Hartenstein had a curt reply.


It will be an interesting summer for the Knicks, who came one game and an injury or two away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

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