The 3 value contracts that are fueling the New York Knicks' terrific season

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers
New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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1) Isaiah Hartenstein

Similar to Donte and Deuce, I-Hart has been thrust into a role that he was not expected to be in prior to this season. After inking a 2 year, $18,100,000 deal with the Knicks in 2022, Hartenstein enjoyed a solid first season in New York backing up Mitchell Robinson.

He began the season in that same role, but has been the Knicks starting center since Mitchell Robinson got hurt on December 11th. He has played so well that he may have even priced himself out of the Knicks budget when he hits free agency again this summer. 

In the 44 games Hartenstein has appeared in since Robinson got hurt, he has averaged 8.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg as well as 1.4 bpg and 1.2 spg. His passing ability and chemistry with Jalen Brunson has helped the Knicks offense tremendously, so much so that most anticipate Hartenstein remaining in the starting lineup when Robinson returns in the coming days. 

This season, Hartenstein was tied for 34th among centers in terms of salary. The Knicks locking up an above average center at that price is a big part of the reason they were able to survive the multitude of injuries they suffered, especially Robinson’s.

Unlike Donte and Deuce, Hartenstein is not yet a part of the Knicks long term plans. Hartensteins defense and passing ability make him an ideal center in the modern NBA and at just 25 years old, he will have no shortage of suitors this summer. The Knicks will have to decide how high they are willing to go to retain him. While Mitchell Robinson is a very good player in his own right, his injury history may force the Knicks hand to go above and beyond to keep Hartenstein in New York.

In today’s league, if a decent player hits free agency they are usually offered a head scratching amount of money within minutes of free agency opening. In this era of irresponsible spending, nobody has mastered the art of maximizing value like the New York Knicks.

From the unexpected leap of Donte DiVincenzo, to the breakout of Deuce McBride and the consistency of Isaiah Hartenstein, the Knicks have surrounded their star players with a roster capable of competing with the league's best without breaking the bank.