Thunder, Isaiah Hartenstein agree to 3-year deal: Sources

By Shams Charania, Fred Katz and Mark Puleo

Former New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein is heading to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a three-year deal worth $87 million, according to league sources.

The Knicks offered Hartenstein the full four-year, $72.5 million deal they could, according to a league source. He elected to test out free agency. The Knicks never pulled the offer. They wanted him back. They just weren’t allowed to pay him enough.

Hartenstein is a tremendous fit with the Thunder. He doesn’t just help with their rim protection and rebounding. He also fits perfectly inside their identity of quick decision-making. Oklahoma City’s offense is all about screening quick, passing quick, cutting quickly and for that, Hartenstein is the ideal addition.

The Knicks expected this departure, as they have been maneuvering since the start of free agency in search of a new center. That doesn’t change here. Mitchell Robinson, as of now, would be the starting five.

Hartenstein became a fan favorite at Madison Square Garden for his energy on the boards and on the defense end. As the Knicks dealt with a plethora of injuries, Hartenstein stepped into the starting lineup and finished 2023-24 with career highs of 49 starts and 25.3 minutes per game. He averaged 7.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.2 steals per game for the Knicks, who relied on his production after Robinson went down with injury.

Hartenstein had previously never started more than eight games in a season and has played for five teams in his six-year career.

He joined New York on a two-year, $16 million deal in 2022, a contract he outplayed.

The 26-year-old was drafted with the No. 43 pick by the Houston Rocket in 2017, but spent much of his first few years in the G League. Hartenstein played professionally in Germany before declaring for the NBA Draft.

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(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)

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