Knicks’ Trade For Bridges Brings Boost, But Can They Replace Hartenstein?

Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets, NBA Trade Rumors
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Villanova Knicks seemed like an unlikely coincidence before it became a reality. The core four is complete thanks to the biggest gamble since Leon Rose took over. With Mikal Bridges the latest addition, the team has a positive outlook going into the 2024-25 NBA season.

After a Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the New York Knicks enter next season with the third-highest odds (+850) to win the NBA title. However, the season begins in late September/October. Until then, the Knicks need to address a few more areas.

How Knicks’ Offseason Looks Now

A haul consisting of six first-round picks, including pick swaps, was always a massive ask. But, with a win-now mentality, the Jalen Brunson-led Knicks made the deal and now have an unbelievable core.

Whether it is shot creators in the aforementioned Brunson or Deuce McBride, knock-down shooters in Donte DiVincenzo and Mikal Bridges, or elite wing defense with Mikal Bridges and OG Anunoby, New York has an embarrassment of riches. Further, a starting front-court of Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson is a tried and tested formula for success. All this without mentioning the best hustler in the league, Josh Hart, off the bench.

The Knicks’ offseason trajectory took a hit after failing to lock up Isaiah Hartenstein. The 26-year-old was irreplaceable throughout last season, given Robinson’s injury history, and was critical to their playoff heroics.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Mikal Bridges, Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks Updates

A genuine seven-footer with elite interior defense, Hartenstein often went unsung when mentioning NYK’s talent. But his contributions to the team were immense. He’s with the Oklahoma City Thunder on a three-year, $87 million deal.

How Can New York Replace Hartenstein?

After failing to secure Hartenstein on the squad, all hope isn’t lost in the Big Apple. In isolated minutes, Jericho Sims has emerged as a valuable third candidate for the Center position on the team.

While a tad undersized at 6-foot-10, Sims has the vertical and lateral quickness to be a force defensively. Further, his bruising body archetype is a perfect stand-in for the kind of physicality that Hartenstein brings.

The need for a backup guard was also deep in New York, with the expiring contracts of Alec Burks and Shake Milton getting no PT. However, with a shrewd series of moves in the 2024 Draft, the team walked away with an ideal fit in Tyler Kolek.

At this point, the New York Knicks are one of the most complete teams in basketball, without a glaring flaw. Apart from securing Hartenstein, the best course of action for the team is to remain stand pat or make minor moves around the edges.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Mikal Bridges, Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks Updates

With fans at Madison Square Garden the most excited they’ve been since the days of Patrick Ewing, do you think the New York Knicks have a legitimate chance at championship success? Let us know in the comments below.

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