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Knicks show “aggressive” interest in Isaiah Hartenstein, “degree of interest” in Andre Drummond

Fine back-ups bigs abound.

Los Angeles Clippers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

With confidence growing that the New York Knicks will be re-signing starting center Mitchell Robinson, attention turns to who will be his primary back-up. It may be Jericho Sims one day, but that day is unlikely to be during the 2022-23 season.

Ian Begley reports the Knicks are showing “aggressive” interest in Isaiah Hartenstein and less-but-some interest in Andre Drummond. Hartenstein, who’s played for four teams in four years, provides rebounding and rim protection as well as perimeter intrigue: after taking 17 3s his first three years combined, he took 30 last season and made 47% of them. I’m not ready to call him Terry Mills just yet (shout out to the oldheads who remember the man nicknamed “The Sugar” ‘cuz his stroke from deep was that sweet), but given that the past few seasons the only Knick center who’d take a shot outside the paint was Nerlens Noel, Hartenstein would certainly provide a different look for New York, and pro’ly for less money than fellow five-out pivot Mo Bamba would demand.

Drummond would be an interesting way to go, given his years of attempts to bully Mitch. But Robinson never dissed Drummond on social media, to my knowledge, so it can’t be any more awkward of a fit than when Drummond joined his personal tormentor in Philadelphia, Joel Embiid. It’s hard to believe, given that Drummond seems to have been around forever, but he doesn’t turn 29 until August. During his time with the 76ers last year he averaged over 17 rebounds plus four stocks per 36; after moving to Brooklyn it was a tad under 17 boards and three stocks per.

Rumors will be flying for a while, but Begley’s sense for what’s really happening is beyond reproach. Keep tuned to P&T all day for slightly-after-the-fact but more fun and in-depth talk of any and all things Knicks on this first day of free agency.