Rising playoff team could be a serious threat to Thunder in Isaiah Hartenstein chase

There might be another team that could thwart the desires of the OKC Thunder to sign Knicks free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein this offseason.
Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

For weeks now, it has been well rumored that the OKC Thunder could be a serious threat to snatch impending free agent Isaiah Hartenstein away from the New York Knicks this coming summer and, most recently, reports have surfaced stating that Sam Presti and company could have "a lot of intrigue" in adding such a player.

And while Oklahoma City has regularly been labeled the biggest threat to pry him away from the Big Apple during the offseason, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype has revealed that there may actually be another serious contender for the big man's services outside of these two clubs.

Per the NBA Insider, rival league executives have shared that the Orlando Magic "is another team to monitor" in the Hartenstein sweepstakes, and, considering their enviable amount of cap space coupled with their recent surprise postseason run, they could be an attractive destination for the 26-year-old if he were to jump ship.

Magic could thwart Thunder's plans of pursuing Isaiah Hartenstein

Though the Thunder head into the offseason with roughly $35 million in spending power, the youthful Magic are currently owners of a ridiculous $49.5 million.

On top of this, like OKC, Orlando may also be in the market for an upgrade within their frontcourt rotation, for Goga Bitadze will be an unrestricted free agent, Mo Wagner holds an $8 million club option for 2024-25, and, simply put, current starting pivot Wendell Carter Jr. has proven to be both unreliable (has played in over 60 games just once in his career) and underwhelming in regard to his productivity.

Hartenstein, on the other hand, finds himself coming off a career campaign with the Knickerbockers where played in all 82 regular-season games and posted averages of 7.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 blocks a night.

He would only go on to up his production during New York's electrifying two-round playoff run where he dropped 8.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and just shy of a block per game on 59.2 percent shooting from the floor and 50.0 percent shooting from distance.

As a result of his play, it is being reported that the sixth-year pro could be looking to net himself both a long-term and lucrative contract, something that could be in the ball-park of "$80 million, and perhaps upward of $100 million," per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Should Hartenstein be looking for his best opportunity to win a championship in the next couple of years, then Oklahoma City may still be the biggest threat to snatch him up on the free agency market.

However, if he's looking to contend, start at center, and earn the most money he possibly can, then perhaps the rising Magic and their no-state income tax may prove to be too enticing of an option for the big man to pass up on