Knicks lose Isaiah Hartenstein to Thunder in crushing free agency move

He's officially gone.
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks entered free agency with two far-fetched dreams: to retain OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein. The former re-signed to a five-year deal before the official start of free agency, while the latter took 14 hours to decide on his future once free agency officially began on Sunday evening.

Oklahoma City brass flew to Oregon to meet with Hartenstein on Sunday evening. Once the plan left without a reported deal, New York fans believed it was a good sign. However, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski crushed those hopes on Monday morning when he reported the center agreed to a three-year, $87 million deal with the Thunder.

The most the Knicks could've offered the center was $72.5 million across four years. The Thunder entered the offseason with more cap space and finished as the top team in a stacked Western Conference. OKC was New York's biggest threat all along.

Isaiah Hartenstein signs three-year deal to leave Knicks for Thunder

New York wanted Hartenstein back but couldn't exceed Oklahoma City's offer. The Knicks had his Early Bird Rights but not his Full Bird Rights. He'll make an average of $29 million annually with the Thunder rather than an average of $18 million with the Knicks.

The Thunder were one of the league's worst rebounding teams in 2023-24, and Hartenstein's presence down low will help fix that. He will fit seamlessly in OKC's rotation. It's believed that Chet Holmgren will slide to the four and Hartenstein will play the five. The Thunder were already a scary team this past season, and adding the 26-year-old center makes them a tougher matchup.

The Knicks have Mitchell Robinson under contract for two more years, but didn't extend a qualifying offer to Precious Achiuwa. They picked up Jericho Sims' option for 2024-25. Several backup center options have been snagged off the free agency market, so New York will have to explore other options.

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