Atlanta Hawks: Isaiah Hartenstein opts out, should he stand in for Okongwu?

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks are facing an interesting time for the first three months of the season. Key reserve, Onyeka Okongwu is out due to shoulder surgery for that time. The Hawks could turn to Bruno Fernando but that is an unlikely scenario given his complete lack of offense.

The Hawks need to look at some cheap options to replace Okongwu’s production until he returns. He is a key contributor to the Hawks’ second unit, being able to defend at a high level as well as contribute on offense through the pick and roll thanks to his connection with Lou Williams.

Now the Hawks need to look at every opportunity in free agency to replace this production as they cannot afford to be in a similar situation to last season. The Hawks came storming home after the All-Star break but would miss out on home-court advantage in the playoffs which may have been crucial last season.

Should the Atlanta Hawks take a look at Isaiah Hartenstein

After spending the first two seasons of his career with the Houston Rockets, Isaiah Hartenstein was waived by that franchise at the end of his second season. He averaged 3.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, and 0.5 blocks in 9.5 minutes per game.

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He was then signed by the Denver Nuggets as a free agent and averaged 3.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists, and 0.7 blocks in 9.1 minutes per game. Hartenstein would then be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers mid-season and this is where his story becomes really interesting.

Hartenstein was given a greater role with the Cavaliers and showed that he could produce if he was given the court time. He averaged 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 17.9 minutes per game.

He has declined his $1.7 million player option to become a free agent per Shams of the Athletic. He will be looking to find a team that is going to have a deep playoff run, as the Cavaliers are not at that stage of their rebuild.

This means that the Hawks may be able to sign him for just over the veteran’s minimum and assess his game for the first three months of the season. If he is not working out, Hartenstein could be traded to another team to help solidify another part of the roster as required. The Hawks should try and sign him, he would be a good stand-in for Okongwu.

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