Knicks Rumors: Anunoby, Hartenstein, Thibodeau, Brunson, Bojan, More

The expectation around the NBA is that OG Anunoby‘s floor as a free agent this offseason is $35MM per year, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said during the latest HoopsHype podcast. Anunoby’s ceiling is a maximum-salary contract, though two general managers who spoke to Scotto said a max deal for the three-and-D star would be difficult to swallow, given his injury history.

While Scotto, Ian Begley of, and Stefan Bondy of The New York Post all view the Knicks as the strong favorites to sign Anunoby, they point out that the team could face some competition if Paul George returns to the Clippers, since he’s considered the top target for cap-room teams like the Sixers, who could shift their focus to Anunoby if they miss out on George. Begley and Bondy each suggests that if the Knicks re-sign Anunoby, the deal might include some protections or incentives related to games played.

As for the Knicks’ other top free agent, a pair of GMs told Scotto that they expect New York to have to offer the full Early Bird amount (four years, $72.5MM) for Isaiah Hartenstein, since the team can’t afford to lose him, though those GMs acknowledged that a contract of that size might not be very movable down the road.

Scotto hears that the Thunder, who have been cited as a possible rival suitor for Hartenstein, are likely to be focused on shorter-term deals for any top free agent targets, which could give the Knicks an advantage if they’re willing to go up to four years. According to Bondy, there’s some speculation that Oklahoma City could offer “something in the realm” of $50MM over two years for Hartenstein, perhaps with a second-year opt-out, like the deal Bruce Brown got from Indiana last summer. However, it’s possible the veteran center would prefer longer-term security.

Here’s more on the Knicks from the HoopsHype podcast:

  • A contract extension for head coach Tom Thibodeau appears to be a matter of “when rather than if,” according to Scotto. Discussing potential terms, Bondy predicts a three-year, $33MM deal, while Begley speculates that Thibodeau may just get two new guaranteed seasons, with a third-year team option.
  • Both Bondy and Begley view Jalen Brunson as more likely than Julius Randle to sign an extension this offseason, even though Brunson could potentially sign a much more lucrative deal if he waits one more year. As Bondy observes, one factor to consider is that signing an extension this summer would put Brunson on track to reach free agency in 2028, when he would have 10 years of NBA service under his belt and would be eligible for a starting salary worth up to 35% of the cap (instead of 30%). “That doesn’t mean he’s going to do it,” Bondy cautioned. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of debate with (agent) Aaron Mintz, the Knicks, and Rick and Jalen Brunson about what’s the best way to go. I think he’s going to consider it.”
  • The expectation is that the Knicks will likely guarantee Bojan Bogdanovic‘s $19MM salary for 2024/25, per Scotto. It’s currently only partially guaranteed for $2MM. The team wouldn’t generate any cap room by cutting him and would lose a big expiring contract for a possible trade, Begley adds.
  • Precious Achiuwa‘s future in New York is uncertain, especially if Hartenstein returns, since new deals for Hartenstein and Anunoby would likely push the Knicks’ team salary into tax territory. Achiuwa is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason. “I think you give him the ($6.3MM) qualifying offer and see what his market is,” Begley said. “If you need to rescind the qualifying offer for financial reasons, you can. That’s probably how it’ll go. Hartenstein’s deal is going to happen before Achiuwa, so you’ll have a chance to know whether he’ll be back before making a final decision on Achiuwa.”
  • The Knicks hold a pair of first-round picks at No. 24 and 25, but neither Bondy nor Begley expects them to use both to draft players. Assuming they use at least one of those selections, talented Virginia defender Ryan Dunn could be a target — people around the league have frequently linked him to the Knicks, per Scotto, though he could come off the board even earlier than No. 24.
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