Knicks willing to spend every dollar possible to keep rising star next season

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) reacts during the third quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Will he stay or will he go? That’s the talk surrounding New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein with free agency right around the corner.

Hartenstein has options as a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent. He can stay in New York and try to win a championship again. He could join a young team like the Oklahoma City Thunder and earn nine figures while also remaining in the title hunt.

Knicks: Isaiah Hartenstein’s breakout may earn him big dollars elsewhere

Mar 31, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) shoots the ball while being defended by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Aaron Wiggins (21) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks don’t want to see him go. He was a catalyst for their first 50-win season in 11 years and their third trip out of the first round since 2000. He did what was asked of him as a high-energy glass cleaner, screen-setter, and rim-runner in the 2023-24 campaign. The story of the Knicks’ season can’t be told without his name getting its own page, if not its own chapter.

That being said, the Knicks are handcuffed in how much they can offer the German-American big man to stay. GIVEMESPORT’s Kerrie Jacobs-Bryant shed more light on the Knicks’ situation with Hartenstein, saying in part:

“With the Knicks only able to offer Hartenstein a max offer of four years, $72.5 million due to holding his early-bird rights, this may not be enough to secure him to the organization long-term, Jacobs-Bryant wrote.

Where the Knicks could stand with Hartenstein should he field a $100M offer

New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) dunks in the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks will have many decisions to make with the scant dollars that’ll be available to them this summer. Hartenstein’s window for a life-changing contract is wider than it’s ever been. A $100 million figure would give him the equivalent of another year’s worth of money in the same length of contract. His play in 2023-24 warrants that kind of money.

The 26-year-old had nine games with at least 15 rebounds and 10 double-doubles on the campaign. The Knicks finished the year strong, going 15-7 in their final 22 games, all with Hartenstein in the starting lineup. Teams will be looking at those factors when appraising his value. Should the Knicks be challenged by suitors who are willing to pay up to Hartenstein’s projections, they may have to get more creative on how to entice him to stay. Otherwise, he may leave for pastures littered with more green this summer.

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