'Realistic' Free agent target could cost Thunder upwards of $100M: Report

Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

The OKC Thunder find themselves entering a pivotal offseason. After becoming the youngest team in league history to clinch a number one seed and reaching their first semifinal appearance since the post-Kevin Durant era, the hope heading into the summer is that Sam Presti and company will look to try and build off of these recent successes and aim for even greater achievements come 2024-25.

Of course, doing so will require Oklahoma City to shore up some of their rotational sore spots, which, at the moment, is headlined by their lack of big bodies up in the frontcourt.

Though Chet Holmgren has proven to be an ideal center option for Mark Daigneault's scheme, considering he weighs just 207 pounds coupled with the fact that the Thunder were absolutely manhandled by the Finals-bound Dallas Mavericks and their assortment of bigs, it's evident that adding on some extra size to their arsenal is a must ahead of next season.

Of course, in doing so, the front office must take play style, along with physique, into account when deciding on a target and, in the eyes of Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes, New York Knicks standout Isaiah Hartenstein should be viewed as a "realistic" free agent option who could benefit and fit right into the ball club's scheme.

Citing his defensive skills, passing abilities, shooting stroke, and overall hustle, the 26-year-old is being tabbed as someone who could be of great value to this Thunder squad if brought aboard for next season, and his production under the bright lights of this year's postseason only helped strengthen this sentiment.

Of course, this aforementioned level of play during the playoffs could prove to have somewhat negative consequences regarding a possible Thunder pursuit of Hartenstein, as reports are now suggesting that his projected asking price has now skyrocketed exponentially.

Isaiah Hartenstein may cost Thunder roughly $100 million if pursued

Per a recent report by Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Hartenstein "will be able to draw at least $80 million, and perhaps upward of $100 million" with his next deal during this summer's free agency frenzy.

While the Thunder may have the funds to meet such projected contractual details, as they'll have about $33 million in spending power to work with, considering they only have a few years separating now and the likely max-contract extension negotiations of Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, and, of course, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, it may be a bit hard for Presti and co. to be convinced to shell out $20-$25 million annually to a talent who, though could be of great service, is somewhat limited in his upside potential.

Still, being OKC is seemingly one or two small pieces away from legitimately vying for a title as soon as next season, perhaps they could find themselves more willing to shell out such coin than fans currently presume.

Hartenstein finds himself coming off a career year with New York, one where he posted 7.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks a night.

He would only go on to up his level of play during the club's two-round playoff run, where he served as a key two-way force for the hobbled Knickerbockers while averaging 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 deep along the way.