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Josh Hart’s hilarious 5-word response to Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein social media post

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Josh Hart’s hilarious 5-word response to Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein social media post

The New York Knicks will look a bit different next season. After falling short in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as a result of numerous injuries throughout the team, the Knicks acquired Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets, drafted Frenchman Pacôme Dadiet, and traded for Marquette guard Tyler Kolek. However, one big piece from the 2023-24 team is departing: Isaiah Hartenstein — and Josh Hart isn’t letting him forget it.

The 26-year-old Harteinstein was destined to attract attention and have his fair share of suitors in free agency, as the big man proved his value to a contending team with the Knicks over the past few seasons. After posting career-highs in starts, minutes, rebounds, assists, and steals, Hartenstein signed a three-year, $87 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that desperately needed to address its interior issues.

By signing with the Thunder, Hartenstein said goodbye to the Knicks, with which he had spent the last two seasons. For a chunk of that time, Hartenstein shared the floor and locker room with Hart, another player that has shown his true value with the Knicks. But it appears there will be no teary-eyed public farewell from Hart to Hartenstein.

Hart, ever the jokester, replied to the Knicks’ Instagram post in which the team thanked Hartenstein for the last two years, saying ‘Na he can smoke one.’

When Hartenstein’s signing was initially reported, Hart gave a similar response: “You are dead to me Zay. I never liked you anyways. But congrats on the bag!”

Isaiah Hartenstein heading to Oklahoma City

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) controls the ball against New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) during the first half of game six of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Hartenstein had a big decision to make this offseason. After averaging 7.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 25.3 minutes per game during the regular season, it was clear that some team was going to shell out some money to have the big German national on their team.

The Knicks, to their credit, tried to retain Hartenstein; the team offered him a four-year, $72.5 million ($64 million guaranteed) contract this offseason, which was the maximum that they could give him. However, the Thunder, who have a young and relatively cheap core, used their advantageous cap situation to offer Hartenstein nearly $15 million more total with one year less on the deal. Hartenstein, who is guaranteed slightly less than if he had remained in New York, could become a free agent again in 2026 if the Thunder choose to decline their team option. If not, he will hit free agency again in 2027.

From now until then, the Thunder surely hope Hartenstein can help boost a youthful and exciting team that possessed a glaring weakness last season. While the 7-foot-1-inch Chet Holmgren showed flashes of greatness as a rookie — he averaged 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks — Holmgren’s slight frame makes him vulnerable to the heavier, stronger, and more bruising big men of the Western Conference.

Hartenstein, listed as 42 pounds heavier than Holmgren, should relieve Holmgren of some of the less desirable duties assigned to centers — like guarding three-time MVP Nikola Jokic. Hartenstein has proven to be a strong, durable rebounder and defender who can pass at a high level and won’t take away many shots from the likes of Holmgren, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or Jalen Williams.

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