Popular Grizzlies free agent target could fetch $100 million deal

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics
Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

The Memphis Grizzlies are in need of a new starting center to strengthen their frontcourt rotation alongside star Jaren Jackson Jr., and, a few weeks back, the concept of pursuing New York Knicks big Isaiah Hartenstein was broached as being a sound idea.

Considering his, then, low-profile name recognition coupled with his particular skill set, some such as the Commercial Appeal's beat reporter Damichael Cole viewed him as someone who "checks a lot of boxes" for the franchise and, at just 26 years old, "fits the timeline" that this current Grizzlies team is on.

Of course, this was before his postseason breakout with the Knicks was fully experienced, as he went on to serve as a driving force in their two-round excursion with both his play and captivating intensity, and wrapped up the 2024 playoffs with impressive averages of 8.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and just shy of a block per game on 59.2 percent shooting from the floor and 50.0 percent shooting from deep.

With his play, not only did he strengthen Cole's beliefs that he could be a quality fit within Memphis' frontcourt rotation but, unfortunately, simultaneously priced himself out of the franchise's spending range, as recent reports are indicating that the impending free agent's next payday could be rather large.

Isaiah Hartenstein priced himself out of price-range for Grizzlies

According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, projections currently suggest that the big man "will be able to draw at least $80 million, and perhaps upward of $100 million."

Even when Cole initially discussed Hartenstein's sound fit with the Grizzlies, he acknowledged that making the numbers work could prove to be an issue, as he had come off a career regular season where he posted 7.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 blocks a night.

With his standout performance under the bright lights of the playoffs for New York, however, this previously noted issue is more prevalent than ever, thus likely completely eliminating him from being considered a realistic offseason target Zach Kleiman and company could look to pursue.