New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets big men are expected to get huge deals this summer, but only one likely to re-sign

New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After taking their games to new heights in recent seasons New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein and Brooklyn Nets counterpart Nic Claxton are expected to land massive contracts this summer, and for one of them, it likely won’t be in NYC.

This year’s NBA Playoffs proved how valuable Hartenstein is to the Knicks. The six-year veteran played a major role in making life hard for 2022-23 NBA MVP Joel Embiid and helping the team advance past the 76ers in the quarterfinals. This also came after several months of strong play with incumbent starter Mitchell Robinson sidelined with an ankle injury.

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  • Isaiah Hartenstein stats (2023-24): 7.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.1 BPG

It put the 26-year-old on the map in a way he never was before, and that is why Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fisher claimed on Friday that Hartenstein is probably the top center available in NBA free agency this summer. That fact is going to work against New York when the market opens at the end of June.

New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While the team can offer him a four-year deal worth $72.5 million, Fischer says competing teams can go as high as $151.6 million. While that is unlikely to happen, he says a deal worth $100 million is realistic. Furthermore, if Cleveland holds on to Jarrett Allen and Nic Claxton stays in Brooklyn, it only strengthens Hartenstein’s interest around the NBA, and likely means he will have an asking price outside the Knicks’ range.

New York is also expected to hand out a massive pay raise to fellow free agent OG Anunoby this summer and the team wants to maintain cap flexibility by not going into the first tax apron.

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  • Nic Claxton (2023-24): 11.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.1 BPG

However, things are a bit more hopeful for the Nets and Claxton. After a pair of years of progress in his game, Fisher speculates the 25-year-old could get similar money as Hartenstein. However, “NBA personnel have long prepared for the Nets’ switchable center to remain with Brooklyn,” Fisher wrote.

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