Cavs: 2 realistic expectations for Isaiah Hartenstein in 2021-22

Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein blocks a shot. (Photo by Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein blocks a shot. (Photo by Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Isaiah Hartenstein, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein reacts in-game. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images) /

Although he did show plenty of promise with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Isaiah Hartenstein did not receive much meaningful playing time in his first 2.5 seasons with the Houston Rockets and then Denver Nuggets. He got a bunch of that with Houston’s G League Affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and was actually the MVP of the 2019 G League Finals, but he did not get PT often with Houston.

Hartenstein then did have more of a role with Denver in spelling Nikola Jokic at times, albeit that was still only in 9.1 minutes per outing. He had 3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in those appearances before this now-past season’s trade deadline in what was 30 appearances.

For context, Hartenstein was previously waived by the Rockets in the offseason of 2020, and then would eventually sign with Denver via two-year, minimum deal.

The second season of that is set to have a $1.8 million player option for next season, and before Hartenstein was dealt to the Cavaliers, along with two future second-round picks near the deadline in exchange for JaVale McGee, it appeared he could very well pick that up.

Hartenstein, as we noted, was a pleasant surprise for Cleveland post-deadline though, and looks to have been quite the trade acquisition that they should try to keep around.

In what would end up being 16 games for him with the Cavs in 2020-21, the 23-year-old averaged 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 blocks in 17.9 minutes per contest. And before Hartenstein would miss 10 games in the closing batch of the season because of a concussion, and then the team seemingly wanting to keep him preserved, he was playing really well.

Point being, given what he showed in his outings in a backup 5 role behind Jarrett Allen typically, the Cavaliers would be wise to re-sign Hartenstein. It’d seem unlikely that he ends up picking up that player option, and could potentially be re-signed for say, a two-year deal for $4-6 million per year?

In the case that Hartenstein is back next season, of which I believe he will be, what should we expect from him?

We’ll hit on two realistic expectations for Hartenstein next season here for the Cavs.

We’ll get into that next, with the first realistic expectation for him.