Knicks Reportedly Interested in Two Promising Isaiah Hartenstein Replacements

The New York Knicks are reportedly aiming high in their pursuit of a center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have been active since the NBA free agency window opened on June 30. Their main priority was improving their wings, which they addressed by retaining OG Anunoby and trading for Brooklyn Nets star Mikal Bridges. With Anunoby and Bridges employed by the Knicks, New York may have the best defensive wing duo in the league, but the team still has more to do this offseason.

While the Knicks improved on both sides of the court, they lost a significant piece of the puzzle in big man Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency, who stepped up last season when Mitchell Robinson was sidelined with a left ankle injury. The seven-foot center made 49 starts last year, averaging 7.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 25.3 minutes per game. Hartenstein signed a well-deserved three-year, $87 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason.

Hartenstein's departure leaves the Knicks with a couple of options to fill the void left in the frontcourt. The Knicks could pursue a big man via trade such as Charlotte Hornets' Nick Richards, re-sign Precious Achiuwa in free agency, or promote from within with Jericho Sims.

According to Knicks insider Marc Berman, New York has shown interest in two young centers with all-star potential: Jalen Duren of the Detroit Pistons and Alperen Sengun of the Houston Rockets. While both players are promising, the asking price to acquire a player of their caliber will be hefty. The Knicks would have to sacrifice a player like Deuce McBride or sign and trade with Achiuwa and give up more draft capital, which they already sacrificed in the Bridges trade.

Leon Rose and the Knicks must consider identity when acquiring a big man for next year's team. It's essential to keep the chemistry that Tom Thibodeau has built with the Nova Knicks over the last few seasons, and while Sengun or Duren would be exciting to watch at the Garden, it may not be worth it. It will be interesting to see what the New York Knicks decide to do before they finalize their roster for the 2024-25 NBA season.

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