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OKC Thunder Has ‘Real’ Interest in New York Knicks Center Ahead of NBA Free Agency

The Oklahoma City Thunder have top-five in the league cap space entering the 2024 NBA Offseason to attempt to bolster their roster and improve an already 57-win ball club. The Thunder will be thrown into every rumor and report from now until the dust settles in August given their cap space and future draft assets.

As a proven Western Conference contender, Oklahoma City could be aggressive this summer before needing to pay the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren next offseason with extensions kicking in during future seasons.

Many will point to the Thunder’s lack of front-court depth as a glaring weakness that must be corrected by Sam Presti and company. One of the top names on the free agent market is New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein.

According to New York Post scribe Stefan Bondy, Oklahoma City Thunder has a real level of interest in the 26-year-old big man.

“The Thunder is viewed by NBA sources as the top threat to pry Hartenstein away from the Knicks in free agency…One league source speculated the Thunder would offer a short-term deal (such as two years) with a high salary, providing both sides with long-term flexibility,” Bondy reports.

“It’s real,” an NBA source said of OKC’s interest in Hartenstein,” according to Bondy.

While Oklahoma City in theory could pull the trigger on this move, it would be an interesting change of path for the franchise to grab a non-shooting big. While there is no harm in the Thunder adding another tool in their toolbox, Oklahoma City has made it clear Chet Holmgren is their man in the middle. While only playing double-big lineups with the Gonzaga products for only two percent of their minutes.

However, a counterpoint can be made that the Thunder own the luxury of a short-term deal to help their secondary unit and front-court depth overall without hampering their long-term financial future and at that point there is little fight against it.

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Anna Harden

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