Magic Emerge As Leading Suitor For Isaiah Hartenstein

The Magic are a “leading suitor” for free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein, league sources tell veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link). Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said earlier today that Orlando had interest in Hartenstein.

With Serge Ibaka still rounding into form following offseason back surgery, Hartenstein emerged early in the year as the Clippers‘ primary backup center and thrived in the role, making 62.6% of his shots from the field and handing out 2.4 APG in just 17.9 minutes per contest. He even flashed the ability to hit the occasional three-pointer (14-of-30) and played solid defense.

While the Clippers would presumably like to bring back Hartenstein, their ability to offer him a raise on last season’s minimum-salary contract will be extremely limited, since they only hold his Non-Bird rights are are rumored to be using their taxpayer mid-level exception on John Wall. That opens the door for Hartenstein to sign with another team for part or all of its mid-level.

The Magic primarily used Wendell Carter and Mohamed Bamba at the five in 2021/22, but Bamba will be a free agent this summer and isn’t expected to get a qualifying offer. Without a QO, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, paving the way for his possible exit out of Orlando.

The Magic reportedly still have some interest in a new deal with Bamba, but if they’re able to add Hartenstein to share center duties with Carter, that may close the door on a Bamba return.

The Bulls and Rockets are among the other teams that have been linked to Hartenstein.

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