Isaiah Hartenstein declines Knicks' offer, takes more money to join Thunder: reports

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Isaiah Hartenstein, a New York Knicks fan favorite for his hustle and prowess in the paint, won’t be playing his home games in Madison Square Garden next season. 

Hartenstein has reportedly agreed to terms on a three-year, $87 million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, joining the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed a season ago, which needs some more size and physicality. 

In doing so, Hartenstein reportedly turned down the Knicks’ offer, which couldn’t surpass four years and $72.5 million, per The New York Post. That offer came to Hartenstein “as soon as the NBA Finals finished. 


Isaiah Hartenstein #55 of the New York Knicks boxes out during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2023 Round 1 Game 1 NBA Playoffs on April 15, 2023 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. (David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Thunder’s offer is reportedly front-loaded, meaning Hartenstein is set to make over $30 million next season to play in Oklahoma City. That is about $5 million more than the Knicks’ All-Star point guard, Jalen Brunson, is set to make next season, though he could be getting an extension himself. 

However, Hartenstein would reportedly have been paid about $16 million in the first year of his Knicks contract if he were to sign it.


It will be interesting to see Hartenstein’s role with the Thunder, given the presence of Chet Holmgren, who plays center for the playoff contender. But GM Sam Presti, who previously traded with the Chicago Bulls for veteran Alex Caruso, knows the team needs rebounding and that was Hartenstein’s bread and butter in New York for head coach Tom Thibodeau. 

Hartenstein, a second-round pick by the Houston Rockets in the 2017 NBA Draft, notched a career-high 8.3 rebounds per game for the Knicks last season. That production can be attributed to Hartenstein being called upon to increase his minutes with Mitchell Robinson being injured for most of the regular season.

Josh Hart

Josh Hart #3 and Isaiah Hartenstein #55 of the New York Knicks react during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 8, 2024 in New York City. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Hartenstein had 49 starts out of his 75 regular-season games last season — the most he had in his career before that was eight starts with the Knicks during the 2022-23 campaign. 

He’s also good on the defensive end, totaling 1.1 blocks and 1.2 steals per game, and held opponents to below 53% shooting at the rim. 

Hartenstein can score, too, owning a 64.4 field goal percentage with 7.8 points averaged per game last year. 

After bouncing around the league with the Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers, Hartenstein was believed to have found a home in New York after his role in their Eastern Conference semifinals run last season. 

Isaiah Hartenstein

Isaiah Hartenstein #55 of the New York Knicks looks on during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on May 14, 2024 in New York City. The Knicks won 121-91.  (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)


But being that journeyman for years, Hartenstein wasn’t going to turn down a lucrative deal to join another contender in the Midwest. 

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