Ex-Boston Celtics big tabbed as potential Isaiah Hartenstein replacement for Knicks

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics
New York Knicks v Boston Celtics / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

All Trail Blazers' Matt Levine believes Portland can explore a trade of former Boston Celtics big man Robert Williams III to the New York Knicks in the event Isaiah Hartenstein doesn't return to the Big Apple in free agency this offseason.

"Much like Williams III, the Knicks have dealt with injuries to their centers over the years," Levine prefaced before saying, "Mitchell Robinson will still be under contract heading into next year but Isaiah Hartenstein is scheduled to be a free agent. His price tag will surely rise after a successful season, potentially leaving the Knicks without a place to retain him. This is where Portland enters with Williams III."

Seeing Williams return to the Atlantic Division in orange and blue would be upsetting to say the least, but a recent report from the Beaver State should give Celtics fans hope that such a scenario won't happen.

Former Boston Celtics big man Robert Williams III 'solidified' in Trail Blazers rotation

Oregon Live's Aaron Fentress reported that Williams is "solidified" in Portland's rotation behind Deandre Ayton and ahead of Duop Reath.

"The Portland Trail Blazers remain in the early stages of rebuilding, but one position that appears the most solidified is center with Deandre Ayton, Robert Williams III and Duop Reath," Fentress wrote. "It’s a versatile group that will provide coach Chauncey Billups with a variety of options to work with led by Ayton, a unique offensive threat and rebounding machine, backed by Williams, a high-end defensive presence."

The Time Lord's trade value is lower than its ever been having played just six games for the Trail Blazers during the 2023-24 season. After being one of the primary pieces in the Jrue Holiday trade, Williams on his own would probably need a pick attached to it to gain anything valuable in return.

Of course, Portland is in a place to acquire picks, not give any up, and regarding the above scenario, the Knicks would probably better off trying to attach draft capital to Julius Randle to land a star to get them over the top. It may even behoove the Knicks to move Randle to the 5 and have Mitchell Robinson back him up given the defensive prowess of OG Anunoby and the rebounding abilities of Josh Hart.

Either way, don't expect that Williams trade, or any Williams trade for that matter, to happen this offseason; barring a drastic change in direction from Portland.