Knicks fans speculate that front office could have a trick up their sleeve

Is there a move coming?
New York Knicks
New York Knicks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The silver lining to the New York Knicks losing Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency is that it was a move the front office expected. The writing was on the wall, considering New York was restricted in how much it could offer, and the top team in the West was willing to offer more. Hartenstein got paid.

Free agency has mostly been a snoozefest this year, but that doesn't mean there weren't a few solid center options the Knicks could've explored (and there are still a couple left). Free agents like Goga Bitadze, Andre Drummond, and Mason Plumlee are off the board. Over 24 hours have passed since the Hartenstein news broke, and New York has remained quiet.

It's not like the Knicks are in a terrible spot at center. Mitchell Robinson is the current starter, a role he's very familiar with. If he hadn't undergone ankle surgery last December, Hartenstein likely would've never become the full-time starter. Robinson was in the DPOY conversation before he got hurt.

New York picked up Jericho Sims' team option for 2024-25, so he's the current backup. The front office didn't extend a qualifying offer to Precious Achiuwa, who has received interest from other teams, according to SNY's Ian Begley. The Knicks could sign Achiuwa for insurance, but something else seems to be brewing.

What will the Knicks do after losing Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency?

Even before free agency, Robinson was caught up in trade rumors. Maybe that's died down now that he's back to being the starter. Or, perhaps New York has laid low since the official start of free agency because another move is coming.

The Knicks traded four unprotected first-round picks, a protected 2025 first-round pick, a 2028 unprotected pick swap, and a 2025 second-round pick to the Nets for Mikal Bridges. They could be planning to make another trade (this time for a center), although it won't be a big splash as New York needs to be mindful about being hard-capped at the first or second tax apron.

There are only a few low-cost trade options, but if someone can find out how to upgrade the roster under financial constraints, it's Leon Rose. He orchestrated the previously unthinkable trade for Bridges. You can't count him out. Knicks fans know that, which is why many believe he's cooking something else up.

The 'Leon's asleep' jokes are a thing of the past. If you haven't done so already, put your trust in him, Knicks fans.

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