NBA Rumors: Dark horse emerges as threat to pry Isaiah Hartenstein away from Knicks

Another potential suitor arises for Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency.
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Two
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Two / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

NBA Rumors: Another dark horse has emerged for Isaiah Hartenstein as he prepares to hit free agency.

Even though the New York Knicks should feel good about where they stand heading into the future, they will certainly have their hands full heading into the NBA offseason. While much of their focus will fall on re-signing OG Anunoby, there is one other key free agent that New York ideally would like to see back in a Knicks uniform - Isaiah Hartenstein.

Coming off a career year in which he averaged eight points, eight rebounds, and three assists on 64 percent shooting from the field, Hartenstein emerged as an important component for the Knicks at the center position. With the injuries to their frontcourt, Hartenstein rose as a consistent force for New York down the stretch. And without his contributions late in the season and into the NBA Playoffs, there's a case to be made that they wouldn't have made it all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals without him.

As he heads into free agency, there are many suitors that are beginning to arise that could end up prying him away from New York.

According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Orlando Magic are considered a team that could throw big money in the direction of Isaiah Hartenstein as he enters free agency this offseason. If so, the Magic are another team that could emerge as a real hurdle for the Knicks as they eye the possibility of re-signing the talented big man.

Can the New York Knicks afford to lose Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency?

This past season, Hartenstein emerged as a truly important player for the Knicks. Heading into the offseason, there's an argument to be made that New York may not be able to afford losing Hartenstein. But with the reports that he could be in for a huge payday, the Knicks re-signing him could prove to be more difficult than they initially thought it would.

Because the Knicks will also have to re-sign OG Anunoby this summer and then possibly think about extensions for Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, it's looking less and less likely that New York will be able to re-sign Hartenstein.

And the likes of the Magic and other teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have previously been linked to Hartenstein, are going to make it nearly impossible for New York to keep their emerging big man around.

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