Thunder Could Make Serious Run At Hartenstein

Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein pumped up his value this season during his walk year. They’ll have competition for his services and the Thunder are viewed as the main threat, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Post.

Hartenstein made approximately $9.25MM this season and he’ll get a huge raise this summer. The Knicks hold his Early Bird rights and can offer a maximum of about $72MM over four years.

That might not be enough to keep Hartenstein, who started 49 regular-season games after Mitchell Robinson was injured and all 13 of the Knicks’ postseason contests. One recent report said the 26-year-old could receive $80-$100MM on a new deal from a team with cap room.

The Thunder will have around $35MM in cap space. While Rookie of the Year runner-up Chet Holmgren manned the middle for the Thunder, Hartenstein could provide a different element.

Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer recently noted that Hartenstein would help OKC with his rebounding, screening and passing. Rebounding was a major issue for the Western Conference’s top seed.

The Thunder will soon need to make some major salary commitments to keep its strong young core intact, so they make take a different approach with Hartenstein. Citing a source, Bondy suggests OKC might offer a short-term deal, perhaps two years, with a high salary. That would provide both OKC and Hartenstein with long-term flexibility.

OKC could go with a bigger starting lineup, sliding Holmgren to the power forward slot, or use Hartenstein as their main frontcourt reserve.

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