New York Knicks have reportedly pursued trade for standout center to replace Isaiah Hartenstein

Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks went into the NBA offseason both hoping to upgrade the starting lineup and re-sign impending free agents OG Anunonby and Isaiah Hartenstein. While Hartenstein won’t be returning to the Knicks next season, the front office is reportedly already trying to find a strong replacement for him.

Hartenstein, who received a maximum four-year, $72.5 million contract offer from the Knicks, signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It left a void in the Knicks’ rotation and wiped out NBA trade rumors suggesting Mitchell Robinson could be moved.

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Unfortunately for New York, there are very few quality options available at center for a championship contender. New York is working with financial limitations with its moves, which is why the front office turned its attention to the trade market for Hartentstein’s replacement.

According to SportsNet New York’s Ian Begley, the Knicks have been in contact with the Utah Jazz regarding a potential trade for center Walker Kessler recently this summer. However, the Knicks insider believes Utah’s asking price is likely out of New York’s price range for a deal.

Walker Kessler8.17.52.423.3.663.131
Isaiah Hartenstein7.

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  • Walker Kessler contract: $2.965 million salary (2024-’25), $4.878 million salary (2025-’26), RFA in 2026

Kessler, the 22nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, was outstanding in his first season. He earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors and earned praise around the league for his defense. This past season, the 7-foot-1 center averaged a career-high 2.4 blocks per game and posted a Win Shares per 48 Minutes over .13 for the second consecutive season.

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Another option for New York is re-signing Precious Achiuwa. However, the 6-foot-8 center has drawn significant from teams this summer. Given the level of interest he’s receiving in NBA free agency, the Knicks will face a challenge to bring him back.

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