Isaiah Hartenstein says what Knicks fans want to hear about upcoming free agency

Hartenstein will be an unrestricted free agent.
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

In free agency two years ago, New York Knicks fans eagerly waited to learn if Jalen Brunson would sign with the team. Before the Knicks secured their future point guard, they quickly agreed to terms with a former Clippers center.

Isaiah Hartenstein signed a two-year, $16 million deal. He had a shaky start to the first half of 2022-23 but got into a groove later in the season. His toughness and grit were displayed in the playoffs, and fans looked forward to having Hartenstein as Mitchell Robinson's backup again in 2023-24.

In early December, Robinson injured his ankle and underwent season-ending surgery — or at least, it was considered season-ending surgery. After three-plus months of recovery and rehab, Robinson returned to the lineup in March but came off the bench. Why? Hartenstein.

The 25-year-old stepped into the starting role and flourished. In the 52 games he's started this season, Hartenstein is averaging 7.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He's done so while dealing with a nagging Achilles injury, which has fortunately become less of an issue.

What will Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein do in 2024 free agency?

Hartenstein is due for a payday over the summer. Knicks fans desperately hope that payday will come in New York. So does Hartenstein.

He spoke with HoopsHype's Michael Scotto and expressed his desire to stay with the Knicks, but Hartenstein also said he's not focused on free agency right now.

"I’m focused on what I’m doing right now. I know I’ve put myself in a great position to get a little upgrade. Right now, I’m focused on the Knicks. I love it here, and hopefully, we’ll figure something out, but at the end of the day, business is business."

Hartenstein, via HoopsHype

Scotto asked if the money was equal, would Hartenstein stay in New York? The center said yes.

Hartenstein also credited Tom Thibodeau with taking his game to another level on the defensive end. He's averaging 1.1 blocks and a career-high 1.1 steals per game this season. He's skilled on the offensive end as well, and Hartenstein gave Nikola Jokic some credit for that.

There's still a lot of basketball left to play, so now isn't the time to worry about free agency. Hartenstein will have several other suitors this summer, but hopefully, he'll be back in New York.

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