Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein could be in for a lucrative deal in free agency

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is defended by New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) during the second half during game two of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks C Isaiah Hartenstein has played exceptionally all season long. He has been one of the Knicks’ catalysts on both ends of the floor. The 7-footer has played his way into a potentially lucrative contract this offseason, when he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

Isaiah Hartenstein is now a part of the Knicks’ playoff history

Hartenstein found himself in the midst of one of the wildest game-winners in Knicks history in Game 2 of the first round. Down 99-101 with less than 20 seconds remaining, Donte DiVincenzo missed what would’ve been the go-ahead three-pointer.

However, Hartenstein flew in to snag the offensive rebound, kicking it out to OG Anunoby who then swung it to an open Divincenzo, who this time buried the game-winning shot.

In the following possession, with New York now up 102-101, Hartenstein followed up his clutch rebound with a timely block on Philadelphia 76ers G Tyrese Maxey’s layup, securing a miraculous Knicks victory.

NBA: Playoffs-Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Hartenstein’s clutch performance helped lift the Knicks to a miraculous Game 2 victory

While all the attention has gone toward DiVincenzo’s heroics, Hartenstein’s impact cannot be understated. His final line showed 14 points, eight rebounds (four offensive), four assists, and three blocks — one of the best games of his career in one of the biggest moments of his career as well.

The 7-footer has exceeded expectations since signing with the Knicks

In 2022, Hartenstein signed as a free agent with the Knicks on a two-year, $16 million deal. Expected to be the backup to Mitchell Robinson, Hartenstein has developed so much that now he continues to start over the oft-injured Robinson.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots the ball as New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) defends during the first half during game two of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The dynamic big man enjoyed the best season of his career with the Knicks in 2024, starting a career-high 49 games and averaging 7.8 points, a career-high 8.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game. His versatility has been the catalyst of the New-look Knicks this season and could be the key to a lengthy playoff run.

Hartenstein has expressed interest in a Knicks return this offseason

With his free agency looming, Hartenstein will be one of the most sought-after big men on the market. It is very possible that Hartenstein doubles his current AAV of $8 million, and earns a contract worth $16 million or more per year. Hartenstein has expressed his interest in returning to the Knicks, making it safe to assume that the team will make retaining the 25-year-old one of their top priorities this offseason.

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