Knicks Floated as ‘Homecoming’ Landing Spot for Ex Top-10 Pick

mo bamba

Getty Could another homecoming be in the cards?

The New York Knicks have some decisions to make in the upcoming offseason, and one of the most important ones is what to do with their center Mitchell Robinson.

Their second round pick has shown he can be a dominant shot-blocker when healthy, but that has been a big question mark for him throughout his career. With his contract being up after the season, there’s now a decision to be made on whether or not to offer him a new deal or let him walk.

The Knicks got offers on Robinson before the trade deadline from both the Pistons and Bulls, so it’s clear he’d have interest from other teams if he did decide to leave New York. With Nerlens Noel being signed for two additional years after this one, and with Julius Randle’s extension kicking in, there will be a lot of money tied into big men.

If Robinson does walk, Noel might not be the solution at center, so the team could have to look in free agency for their guy. One name who has been floated is Orlando Magic center Mo Bamba, somebody who the New York Post’s Marc Berman says is open to the idea.

Another Homecoming

Gary Harris

GettyClint Capela battles for possession against Mo Bamba and the Orlando Magic.

Given how disastrous the Kemba Walker homecoming has been in New York, the Knicks might be hesitant on another.

If they are open to the idea, then Bamba makes a lot of sense as he’s another young player with upside. At 23 years old, his best days certainly appear to be ahead of him as he continues his development.

After trading away Nicola Vucevic last season, the keys have been given to Bamba and he’s turning in the best season of his career with Orlando. The Magic haven’t been good this season, so it’s not clear if Bamba can be an impact player at this stage, but paired with RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, there’s a chance he could thrive.

Berman notes this as a concern as it’s similar to what an NBA scout said.

“Mo has played better this year, but it’s still difficult to project him as a starting center for a good team at this point,” said the scout.

Luckily for Bamba, the Knicks aren’t exactly considered a good team at the moment, so his development could be right on track in New York. Bamba is a Harlem native, so he would likely have a lot of hometown fans, and he’d be able to slide right into a starting spot, so it’s really a win-win situation.

Possible Hangups

mitchell robinson flight risk knicks

GettyMitchell Robinson will be a name to watch.

The main problem with this is the Magic would be able to match any offer sheet from the Knicks, so unless New York offers a dump truck full of money, it’ll be hard to pry the big man away from Orlando.

With him showing improvement each season, it’s hard to imagine the Magic just letting him go for nothing, so it’s expected they would hang onto him if the deal is right.

Berman says the front office in Orlando is still a fan of him as well.

“Sources say the Orlando front office has always believed in Bamba and cleared a pathway for him when they traded center Nikola Vucevic at last season’s deadline,” he wrote. “Last offseason was Bamba’s first healthy summer to put in the type of strength and conditioning work needed to be a solid starting center in the league. One scout said he still needs to take the next step by punishing smaller defenders in the post.”

While he’d likely be a good fit on the Knicks, it seems like it’ll be difficult to get him.

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