Knicks Are Betting Favorites to Pick Polarizing Center Amid Isaiah Hartenstein Free Agency

Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks

Getty Isaiah Hartenstein of the New York Knicks reacts during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The New York Knicks are the betting favorites to select Purdue’s polarizing center Zach Edey in the NBA Draft amid the uncertainty of Isaiah Hartenstein‘s return. picked the Knicks as +450 favorites, or an 18.2% implied probability, as the landing spot for the Boilers center. The Knicks have the 24th (from Dallas) and 25th selections in the first round.

The Knicks are just ahead of the Washington Wizards (+500 odds, 16.7% implied probability) and the New Orleans Pelicans (+700, 12.5%).

Edey is a polarizing prospect whose range in the mock drafts is all over the place.

He’s impressed several NBA teams “with his serious-minded approach in interviews,” according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. But his skeptics wonder if he can space the floor in the NBA.

“Edey has fans in the top 10, but also plenty of detractors, creating a somewhat wide range that extends into the 20s, depending on how the draft shakes out,” Givony wrote.

Zach Edey Fits Tom Thibodeau’s Big Man Mold

The Canadian center averaged 25.2 points and 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks for Purdue which lost to Connecticut in the national championship.

Edey fits the mold of a Tom Thibodeau big man — a rim protector who rebounds the ball well in drop coverages. His official measurements were staggering: 7-5 in shoes with a 7-11 wingspan and 9-7 standing reach.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor mocked Edey at No. 25 while CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish projects the center at No. 24.

Edey could serve as the Knicks’ insurance in the event they lose Hartenstein in free agency.

The Knicks have Hartenstein’s early Bird rights, meaning they can go over the salary cap to re-sign him. However, because of this, they are only limited to offering him a maximum of four years, $72.5 million, according to ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks.

Isaiah Hartenstein Open to Return if Knicks Match Offers

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. I love it here, and hopefully, we’ll figure something out, but at the end of the day, business is business,” Hartenstein told Hoopshype.

Hartenstein is coming off a career year, playing a key role in the Knicks’ playoff run. In 64 starts, including the playoffs, Hartenstein averaged 9.1 rebounds, 8.6 points, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks.

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

Hartenstein could benefit from the lack of starting-caliber big men in free agency.

With only Nic Claxton and Jonas Valanciunas as the only other top centers available in free agency, the Knicks risked losing Hartenstein if another team threw $20 million per year at him.

Josh Hart Wants to Run It Back

Josh Hart expressed his wish to run it back next season following their 130-109 loss in Game 7 of the second round of the NBA Playoffs to the Indiana Pacers.

“Those two better come back,” Hart told reporters, per New York Post’s Stefan Bondy, referring to the Knicks’ unrestricted free agents Hartenstein and OG Anunoby.





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