Cavs should re-sign Isaiah Hartenstein, provided he declines player option

Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein looks to pass. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein looks to pass. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images) /
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Isaiah Hartenstein, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein dunks the ball. (Photo by Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /

It hasn’t been the biggest sample size for Isaiah Hartenstein with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

We know that to be the case; he’s made 15 appearances with Cleveland since being acquired via trade from the Denver Nuggets near the league’s March 25 deadline. As a brief refresher, that was in exchange for JaVale McGee and two future second-round picks, one of which is set to be protected.

Hartenstein has looked to be a quality contributor with the Cavs, though, which has been nice to see.

After he didn’t receive much meaningful run in NBA play with the Houston Rockets in his first two seasons, and didn’t have necessarily a large role with Denver (9.1 minutes per outing), the young big has taken advantage of more run with Cleveland.

In 15 appearances with the Cavs post-deadline, he’s averaged 8.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 18.3 minutes per contest. Him having 2.5 assists per outing with Cleveland in that run, as mostly a rotational 5, has been noteworthy, too.

His passing feel has really been something that’s jumped out in his burn, and that’s led to him being able to mesh well with a variety of other Cavs players.

Hartenstein did end up missing five games because of a concussion before Cleveland’s last outing on Wednesday, which ended up being a blowout L to the Portland Trail Blazers, as a brief side note. Albeit as we know, the Cavaliers are so injury-riddled to close out the year here, and not having Darius Garland (ankle sprain) didn’t help, for instance.

With what I’ve seen out of Hartenstein in his burn, though, it’s evident that he’s been a quality trade acquisition. With his finishing touch/capabilities to finish with authority inside, rebounding acumen, and interior presence defensively, to go with the secondary playmaking, to me, he’d be nice to keep around for perhaps the next few seasons, for example.

Hartenstein is set to have a $1.8 million player option for next season, but I would think he’d more than likely decline that. He has shown when he’s gotten meaningful burn in other instances with Houston and with Denver that he is a more than capable rotational big, and I would think he’d perhaps look for a better deal and/or maybe with a few years involved.

Provided he does decline that, the Cavs should look to re-sign Hartenstein.

Firstly, Hartenstein has shown he can affect games in a variety of ways in his rotational burn, and can give Cleveland a boost in his run.