Knicks Rumors: Another team emerges in Hartenstein free agency sweepstakes

What will Hartenstein decide?
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

More reports regarding Isaiah Hartenstein's future emerge as the calendar creeps toward free agency. The New York Knicks center will be an unrestricted free agent on June 30 and already has a few interested suitors.

New York Post's Stefan Bondy reported that an NBA source said the Thunder have "real" interest in the 26-year-old. Oklahoma City is projected to have $33 million in cap space this summer and could sign Hartenstein to a better deal than New York's best offer of $72.5 million across four years.

Orlando is another team that will have a lot of cap space this summer ($33 million). Hartenstein almost signed with the Magic before he signed with the Knicks in 2022. There have been questions about whether Orlando would consider signing I-Hart this summer. According to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, the Magic are a team to watch.

"The Orlando Magic is another team to monitor for Hartenstein, according to rival NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype."

Michael Scotto, HoopsHype

Magic could lure Isaiah Hartenstein away from Knicks in free agency

After missing the playoffs for three straight seasons, Orlando was back in 2024. The young Magic squad took the Cavaliers to seven games in the first round but came up short. Led by Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, Orlando is a team to watch in the Eastern Conference.

Wendell Carter Jr. is the Magic's current starting center. Mo Wagner is Carter's backup, with an $8 million club option for 2024-25. Goga Bitadze will be an unrestricted free agent. If Orlando wants to spend some money on a center that doesn't have a lengthy injury history, Hartenstein could go to Florida.

In I-Hart's first season in New York, he played all 82 regular-season games. In 2023-24, he dealt with a sore Achilles but still played 75 games (49 starts). He emerged as the starter after Mitchell Robinson underwent ankle surgery in December. When Robinson's healthy, he's the Knicks' defensive anchor, but his injury history is a concern, which is part of why New York wants to keep Hartenstein.

The Knicks won't be able to offer as much money as the Magic, but unlike Orlando, New York is a contender. If Hartenstein stays, he'll continue competing for one of the best teams in the East (and the league). Considering he hopped around the league before signing with the Knicks, it would be nice for him to stay in New York and enjoy making a home for himself and his family.

Once free agency starts, Hartenstein will have a difficult decision to make. No matter what he decides, he'll always be a beloved Knick.