Bleacher Report's prediction for pivotal Knicks free agency is a welcome one

Yes, please!
New York Knicks
New York Knicks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Free agency will bring joy or sadness to New York Knicks fans. Isaiah Hartenstein will be an unrestricted free agent, and OG Anunoby is expected to decline his $19.9 million player option to be an unrestricted free agent. Hopefully, the Knicks will keep both.

New York could get priced out of Hartenstein's range, as the most the organization can offer him is a four-year, $72.5 million deal. Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reported that the center could make over $100 million, a deal the Knicks can't make. I-Hart could follow the money if an opposing team offers more than New York can. New York Post's Stefan Bondy reported that according to an NBA source, the Thunder's interest in the big man is "real."

There's no way of knowing how free agency will play out, but fans should find some hope in the fact that Hartenstein loves being a Knick. His two seasons couldn't have played out better than they did. After Mitchell Robinson got injured last December, I-Hart stepped into the starting role and didn't look back.

He's due for quite the payday. A $72.5 million deal would be an upgrade from the $16 million contract he signed as a free agent in 2022. Maybe he'll stay. At least, that's what Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz seems to think will happen.

"Both the Knicks and Hartenstein should want to stay together, however. Don't be surprised if a new contract comes in at the max amount New York can offer."

Greg Swartz, via B/R

B/R says Knicks and Isaiah Hartenstein "should want to stay together"

As Swartz noted, the teams with the cap space to offer Hartenstein a considerably higher amount than New York don't necessarily need to go all-in on a free-agent center. Oklahoma City has Chet Holmgren, who could slide back to power forward, but again, that isn't a necessary move.

Orlando was interested in I-Hart in 2022 but has depth at center now. Detroit has Jalen Duren, but as The Athletic's James L. Edwards III noted, the Pistons' new leadership could bring in another center (subscription required). Would Detroit (who will have the most cap space in the league) want to give Hartenstein a huge contract? It doesn't seem likely, but it's a new regime.

While it's a genuine possibility that I-Hart will leave, the Knicks lucked out in a sense. There doesn't seem to be any real threats to New York keeping Hartenstein. It helps that the Knicks (when healthy) are a true contender. The front office is expected to pursue a star this summer, whoever that might be. Don't overlook New York.