Insider reveals intriguing reason behind Knicks' silence after losing Hartenstein

Could the Knicks pull a trade off?
New York Knicks, Leon Rose
New York Knicks, Leon Rose / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The New York Knicks knew that Isaiah Hartenstein would likely walk in free agency for more money, which is what happened. The four-year, $72.5 million contract the Knicks offered didn't stand a chance to the Thunder's three-year, $87 million offer.

Over 24 hours have passed since Hartenstein decided to go to Oklahoma City. Since then, free-agent centers have continued to go off the board. The Knicks have Mitchell Robinson under contract and picked up Jericho Sims' team option for 2024-25, but they need more than that. Perhaps they'll sign Precious Achiuwa. SNY's Ian Begley reported there's interest but that New York isn't the only team that could sign him.

Leon Rose has meticulously assembled the roster, so it's not as if he's asleep at the wheel. Fans have speculated that something more is going on. HoopsHype's Michael Scotto confirmed that when he reported that the Knicks have expressed interest in trading for Walker Kessler and Nick Richards.

Knicks have reportedly inquired about trading for Walker Kessler and Nick Richards

Kessler has previously drawn trade interest from opposing teams, but nothing came of it.

"There’s a belief from rival executives that Utah would listen to trade calls for Kessler, whereas last year, the sense was he was not for sale. "

Michael Scotto, HoopsHype

The seven-footer averaged 8.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game, shooting 65.4% from the field in his second season in the league. Utah picked up his $2.96 million team option for 2024-25 and a $4.9 million option in 2025-26.

Richards averaged 9.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game for the Hornets this past season. He's set to make $5 million the next two seasons. Scotto didn't report that Charlotte is open to listening to offers for him.

Both would be good options for New York. Kessler will turn 23 later this month, and Richards will turn 26 (his birthday is in November). There have been Lauri Markkanean trade rumblings, and if the Jazz are offered a deal they can't refuse, they may want to hold onto Kessler. He's on a great contract.

As nice as it is to think about either entering the Knicks' rotation, it could mean losing Deuce McBride, who is on one of the best contracts in the league. If Rose could get Kessler or Richards without losing McBride, he'd become even more beloved by the fan base.

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