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Lewis: Nets and Isaiah Hartenstein have ‘mutual interest’

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Denver Nuggets v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Brian Lewis reports Friday night that the Nets are “currently eyeing” Isaiah Hartenstein and the free agent big and Brooklyn have “mutual interest.”

The Nets attended the 23-year-old seven-footer’s workout in Las Vegas two weeks ago along with the Clippers and Thunder, but it appears that he prefers the Nets. Lewis writes...

The Nets are currently eyeing Hartenstein, sources told The Post.

The Nets have had a long flirtation with Hartenstein. They liked the 7-footer in the 2017 draft, and he dominated against their affiliate, Long Island, in the 2019 G-League Finals, when he was named MVP while playing for Rio Grande. A source told The Post the Nets were even interested in signing Hartenstein before the 2020 NBA bubble, but he was ineligible for the playoffs due to the date he’d been waived...

Hartenstein averaged 8.3 points, 6.0 boards, 2.5 assists and 1.2 blocks in 17.9 minutes per game for the Cavaliers last season, the best stretch of his young career. After declining his $1.9 million player option, the 23-year-old is an unrestricted free agent, and The Post has confirmed there is again mutual interest with the Nets.

The Cavaliers could have re-signed the unrestricted free agent, but that apparently changed Friday when the Cavs, Blazers and Bulls completed a trade that sent seven-footer Lauri Markkanen from Chicago to Cleveland giving the Cavs an excess of bigs led by former Net Jarrett Allen, who signed a $100 million contract earlier this month, and Evan Mobley, who the Cavs took with the third overall pick last month.

Hartenstein, born in Eugene, Oregon, is the son of Florian Hartenstein who played collegiately at Oregon then moved on to Germany and international ball. Isaiah grew up in Germany and was a star in FIBA’s youth tournaments. He was drafted in the second round by the Rockets and played two years with James Harden in Houston. While playing with the Rockets’ Rio Grande Valley Vipers affiliate in the 2019 G League Finals, he scored 33 points making eight 3-pointers against the Long Island Nets.

In addition to his 3-point prowess, Hartenstein has a reputation as a good passer for a big man.

Of course, the three-team trade also made Kevin Love surplus. As Lewis notes, Love’s connections with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and others on the Nets could make him a target too if he and the Cavs agree to a buyout. Love, 32, is owed $60 million over two years.

Love is very much still under contract in Cleveland — to the tune of two years and a staggering $60 million. The Nets would have interest in Love if he were to be bought out, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported he and the Cavaliers were “making progress” on a buyout.

Love — who was limited to just 25 games last season due to injuries and will turn 33 next month — could be attractive to any number of contenders, such as the Lakers. But he has a waterfront apartment in Tribeca, won a title in Cleveland as part of a Big 3 with Kyrie Irving and is believed to be friendly with Kevin Durant.

The Nets would have to make another move to bring on either Hartenstein or Love. They currently have 15 standard NBA deals, although Alize Johnson is non-guaranteed. On Friday, per Keith Smith of Spotrac, the Nets modified his contract. Johnson’s guarantee date has been moved back from September. 4 all the way to the regular-season opener, October 19. The guarantee, at $200,000, a relatively small amount.

However, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted early Saturday that despite the Cleveland.com report, there’s been no talks and Love has no interest in a buyout...

What about DeAndre Jordan? There have been constant rumors that the Nets are trying to trade him or buy him out. Two days ago, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne suggested the Lakers might be interested but added she didn’t think anything was imminent.

“I think they’d be open to one more center,” she said of the Lakers. “A Dwight Howard JaVale McKee type. Another candidate who I think you should watch — and this is another one that would be a bit harder to see how this is going to happen okay? — is Andre Jordan in Brooklyn.

“They are WAY OVER the luxury tax. I don’t think he’d do a buyout there. I think if he doesn’t play at all or depending on how he fits there, this would a mid season sort of thing probably,” she added.