With the New York Knicks offseason roster movement all but come to a close, fans are looking ahead to the 2021-2022 campaign and the narratives unfolding.
Among them, none may be more prominent than that of Mitchell Robinson’s future in the Big Apple.
The 23-year old big man has one year left on his rookie contract, before he hits unrestricted free agency next offseason.
Extension eligible, nothing’s yet been reported on any looming deal between Robinson and the Knicks.
It’s not unrealistic to think the sides may opt to bypass any extension talks, after the third-year big missed 41 games last season and the team’s first-round playoff series with two different injuries.
And in his latest for Bleacher Report, Zach Buckley went as far as to predict that New York will trade Robinson this season, and avoid his free agency altogether.
Mitchell Robinson is one of the best defensive centers in the entire NBA.
He averaged 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game last season, along with 8.3 points and 8.1 rebounds.
Would the New York Knicks truly sign up for life without him?
Buckley: Robinson Has ‘Stagnated’
Buckley recognized Mitchell Robinson’s once promising stance in the New York Knicks rebuild when discussing his future:
It wasn’t too long ago that Mitchell Robinson seemed like the centerpiece of New York’s rebuild. But this roster has grown considerably since, and the big fella has stagnated a bit because of myriad injuries.
As well as his freak of nature ability on both ends of the ball, to defend the shot and catch seemingly impossible lob passes:
Few players can match his combination of length, mobility and athleticism, a package potent enough to eventually put him in the Defensive Player of the Year consideration.
But he also can’t ignore the writing on the wall, provided by the team’s overhaul of talent at the center position:
After locking up Nerlens Noel, bringing back Taj Gibson and drafting Jericho Sims, New York could be set at the center spot, especially if it wants to experiment with Randle and Obi Toppin as small-ball 5s.
Ultimately, it likely comes down to what the extension number looks like for Robinson, and how that stacks up in comparison to Nerlens Noel’s three-year deal.
The two big men are set to face off for the starting center position, and whichever one comes out on top is likely the one who New York will opt to retain.
So the question becomes what Mitchell Robinson’s value is, not only to the New York Knicks, but the rest of the NBA, too.
How Much Can Robinson Get On the Open Market?
Just weeks ago, Marc Berman of the New York Post touched on Mitchell Robinson’s pending contract extension with the New York Knicks.
The longtime Big Apple insider reported that barring some ridiculous ask, head of the front office Leon Rose is willing to extend the big man:
According to an NBA source, Knicks president Leon Rose is now open to a contract extension for the 23-year-old Robinson before the Oct. 20 season opener “as long as it’s not crazy.”
Berman even helped to clarify what Robinson’s value is to the rest of the league, reportedly and according to his sources:
League insiders consider Robinson’s current value — given his injury-riddled past — more in the four-year, $44 million range. A sweetener is giving Robinson a player option for the fourth year.
This is both surprising because of Robert Williams recent extension with the Boston Celtics, and not shocking because of the Knicks center’s injury woes.
Perhaps the New York Knicks will entertain a Mitchell Robinson trade.
But similar to his pending extension, it doesn’t make sense until he takes the floor this season and shows what he can do healthy.
42 to days to go until the 2021-2022 season’s tip.