Eastern Conference Rival Could Steal Key Knicks Starter

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

Getty Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

Mitchell Robinson is yet to sign an extension with the New York Knicks, making him a legitimate flight risk once free agency rolls around.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, if Robinson decides his future lies elsewhere, there’s not much the front office can do. The imposing center is an unrestricted free agent, which gives him freedom of movement around the league, much to New York’s dismay.

While there’s still a reasonable chance Robinson and the Knicks come to an agreement on an extension, it’s recently been reported that another Eastern Conference team has begun to show interest in the seven-foot rim-runner. According to a report by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Chicago Bulls have become a potential destination for Florida native.

“Sources have also indicated the Bulls are a team with interest in Gobert (and other centers on the market, including Knicks free agent Mitchell Robinson),” O’Connor wrote in his article on June 6. 

Chicago does already have a high-level center on their roster in Nikola Vucevic, which means they likely view Robinson as a potential bench piece, so it remains to be seen if he would give up a starting role in New York to join the Bulls.

Some Front Office Members Want Robinson to Stay

The market for Robinson might not be scolding hot, but there are certainly interested parties beginning to circle, if recent reports are to be believed, of course. Yet, according to SNY’s Ian Begley, there are members of the Knicks front office that would prefer to see the hulking center remain in New York long-term.

“For the Knicks, they can exceed the salary cap to bring Robinson back, the two sides did talk about extensions over the course of the season. At one point prior to the trade deadline, I was told they were not close to an extension, they were pretty far apart.

I think there was some frustration there, I don’t know if that frustration is still there, but I do know that there are Knick decision-makers that would like to see Robinson come back,” Begley said.

Chicago’s Interest Isn’t New

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Chicago Bulls were one of multiple teams to show an interest in Robinson around the February 10 trade deadline but were unsuccessful in their attempts to prise him away from the Knickerbockers.

“Four teams went after Knicks center Mitchell Robinson at Thursday’s trade deadline, including the Bulls and Pistons, according to an NBA source…The Bulls were intrigued by Robinson, according to the source, because they were looking for another defensive center to go along with Nikola Vucevic as they eye a long playoff push,” Berman wrote in an article from February.

It would seem that Chicago’s interest hasn’t wavered, as they likely view Robinson’s size and athleticism as a missing link in their current roster construction, especially after the Bulls faded mid-way through the season, finishing sixth in the Eastern Conference and losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.

The ball is now firmly in Robinson’s court, as he can either choose to re-sign with the Knicks and continue developing alongside the team’s young core, or cut bait and see what the future holds in a new city, on a new roster.

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