Knicks need to consider snagging this center ASAP with Hartenstein gone

The Knicks have a void that needs to be filled.
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks fans knew it was likely coming, but that doesn't mean it stung any less when ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Isaiah Hartenstein agreed to sign a three-year, $87 million deal with the Thunder. He couldn't turn down that kind of money from a top team in a stacked Western Conference.

At least New York wasn't blindsided by the news. The front office knew it was coming, meaning they'd had time to prepare. The top free agent centers are off the market, but there are still a couple of solid options left that the Knicks could consider signing with their $5 million taxpayer midlevel exception. One option stands out more than the others.

Knicks need to try to lure Moe Wagner from re-signing with the Magic

Moe Wagner averaged 10.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game for Orlando this past season. He averaged 17.7 minutes in 80 games (one start). Wagner shot 60.1% from the field and 33% from three on an average of 1.4 attempts per contest.

Considering Mitchell Robinson is the Knicks' current starter now that Hartenstein is gone, having a backup who missed only two regular-season games in 2023-24 would be valuable. Robinson played 31 games this past season and 59 in 2022-23. New York was ravaged by injuries this past season, and its lack of depth didn't help.

The Magic declined Wagner's $8 million team option for 2024-25 after signing him to a two-year deal last offseason, but Woj reported that both sides are interested in discussing a new deal. The Knicks can't offer more than the Magic could, so the chances of the 27-year-old leaving Orlando for New York seem slim. It doesn't help that his brother plays for the Magic, too.

Orlando re-signed Goga Bitadze on Monday, but that doesn't mean the Magic won't re-sign Wagner.

Orlando also signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a three-year deal in free agency. While the Magic may not be a top team in the East, they're well on their way. Maybe the Knicks could convince Wagner to leave a young squad for an established one. It'd require him to take a pay cut, but perhaps there's a shot.

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