Cleveland Cavaliers: 2 goals for Isaiah Hartenstein in 2021-22

Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein reacts in-game. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein reacts in-game. (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) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers appear to have acquired a quality piece near the now-past trade deadline from the Denver Nuggets in Isaiah Hartenstein. Cleveland received Hartenstein and two future second-round draft picks in exchange for dealing JaVale McGee to Denver.

It wasn’t clear from the outset what the Cavaliers would be getting from Hartenstein, but he showed plenty of positive signs in his time last season with the Cavs following the deadline.

He didn’t appear in much meaningful playing time with the club that drafted him in the Houston Rockets in the second round in his first two seasons, who would end up waiving him last offseason. Then in his half season with Denver, Hartenstein did have some more of a role, albeit only played an average of 9.5 minutes per outing, in which he had 3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest.

There were glimpses, sure and Hartenstein did show potential in the G League prior to that with Houston’s G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and he was the 2019 G League Finals MVP with them. He just didn’t get much time in game action with the Rockets.

And in relation to the Nuggets’ situation, this year’s league MVP in Nikola Jokic was going to be getting the lion’s share of 5 minutes, either way though.

Hartenstein would again be traded to the Cavaliers after signing a two-year, minimum deal with Denver last offseason, of which next season, he’s set to have a $1.8 million player option.

Albeit circling back, Hartenstein did prove to be a solid pickup and looks to be a player that Cleveland should look to bring back for next season/perhaps onward. That’s in the assumption that he ends up declining his player option, and that’s reportedly likely to play out, as Chris Fedor of, Hartenstein is looking to get a “more lucrative” deal with more security it seems.

Fortunately, though, Isaiah does like his situation/outlook with Cleveland, and does prefer to re-sign/be Jarrett Allen’s primary backup. And frankly, though he did show promise with the Cavaliers when he was healthy post-deadline, Hartenstein doesn’t have much meaningful NBA experience yet and I wouldn’t imagine it’d realistically cost a bunch to bring him back.

Perhaps a two-year deal perhaps for $3-5 million per year could do that? As an aside, while it was rumored that Spanish club Barcelona was set to target Hartenstein this offseason as a possible free agent agent acquisition with an “NBA out” potentially, based on Fedor’s report, it seems likely that Hartenstein is back with the Cavs. He/his camp didn’t express interest in a potential overseas move, either.

So, with next season in mind for Hartenstein, what might be two goals for him then, provided he’s back?

We’ll take a look at the first next, which relates to his bench production.