The Knicks appear to be in good shape to land their future point guard, and they may not have to search for a new center, either.
While the Knicks’ pursuit of Mavericks free agent Jalen Brunson has been a focus of the front office, Mitchell Robinson’s pending free agency hasn’t been ignored. The 7-foot-1 shot-blocking, dunking demon is reportedly expected to return.
Bleacher Report floated the possibility of the Knicks and Robinson agreeing to a four-year, $60 million contract. Without Robinson, the Knicks would be in a precarious spot at center, with just graybeard Taj Gibson and last year’s 58th overall pick, Jericho Sims, on the roster. They agreed to send veteran Nerlens Noel, along with Alec Burks, two future second-round picks and $6 million in cash, to the Pistons on Tuesday to clear close to $20 million in cap space required to land Brunson.
The Post previously reported the Bulls were interested in Robinson, to pair with offense-minded big man Nikola Vucevic. They were one of the teams, along with the Pistons, interested in dealing for him before the trade deadline in February. The Knicks have the option prior to Thursday’s deadline of giving Robinson a four-year, $55 million extension to prevent him from being a free agent. When asked during the season if he wanted to remain a Knick, Robinson brushed off the inquiries by telling reporters to talk to his agent.
Robinson averaged 8.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 25.7 minutes across 72 games, while shooting 76.1 percent from the field. He was a draft win for the Knicks, a 2018 second-round pick who has developed into a solid starting center in the league despite battling injury issues.
He also has yet to expand on his offensive game beyond alley-oops, put-back dunks and baskets around the hoop, and has at times shown an immature side. He has taken passive-aggressive shots at his lack of involvement in the offense on Instagram in the past. There are questions about how he would respond if given a big deal.
Robinson did appear in a career-high 72 games this year, 62 of them as a starter, and notched his highest rebounding average. Now he is ready to cash in, after playing out his four-year, $6.4 million contract, and it looks as if the Knicks are prepared to do what it takes to ensure he stays in New York City.