Knicks May Lose Starter to Eastern Conference Rival, Says Insider

Mitchell Robinson

Getty Mitchell Robinson blocks Cade Cunningham during a December 21 game against the Detroit Pistons.

Amidst a New York Knicks season that’s been full of disappointment, one narrative that’s been inescapable for fans is the future of starting center Mitchell Robinson.

The fourth-year big is averaging 8.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game in 55 appearances this season.

But given the peculiarity of his contract situation with the Knicks, there’s a strong uncertainty surrounding any future that involves him playing in the Big Apple.

That much alone was enough for teams to approach New York about a trade prior to the February 10th deadline.

Among them, was an Eastern Conference rival, in the Detroit Pistons, according to SNY’s Ian Begley:

One team that had interest in Robinson ahead of the deadline? The Detroit Pistons. Detroit is one of the few teams with projected cap space this summer.

So, it stands to reason that they’ll maintain an interest in the 23-year old this summer, where he has a chance to enter unrestricted free agency.

And that’s certainly the way it’s trending, according to the most recent reporting.

Are the New York Knicks really about to let Mitchell Robinson walk for nothing?

Begley: ‘It Seems Likely’ Robinson Headed for Free Agency

Included in Begley‘s latest report for SNY, was an update on Mitchell Robinson’s extension talks with the New York Knicks.

If the two sides fail to reach an agreement on an extension by June 30th, then he’ll enter unrestricted free agency.

As of right now, that seems the most likely trajectory, according to Begley:

In at least one of the conversations between the Knicks and Robinson’s representation prior to the deadline, the team and player were “not close” on the terms, per an SNY source.

New York can offer Robinson a maximum of four years and $48-million right now, but could always offer him more on the unrestricted free agent market.

But what’s he worth?

According to, Robinson is one of just five players to average at least 8.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game this season, a minimum of 41 games played.

Among that pool are the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, and rival big man Robert Williams III, who recently signed a four-year, $54-million extension with the Boston Celtics.

Robinson’s proven he can be the centerpiece of a top-five defense when engaged and healthy. But those two qualifiers have been largely inconsistent throughout the last two seasons.

Do the New York Knicks have a backup plan if they do let Mitchell Robinson walk?

The last few games would seem to indicate that they’re trying to answer that question themselves.

Jericho Sims is Free

As a part of what feels like a new ‘play the kids’ modus operandi for head coach Tom Thibodeau, second-round pick Jericho Sims has seen playing time out of the All-Star break.

After playing in just 17 of the team’s first 59 games this season, he’s played 36 minutes over their last two.

Both games have been losses, but Sims hasn’t been substituted in solely for garbage time, instead actually playing over veterans Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson.

Following their loss to the Miami Heat, Thibodeau had some praise for the 23-year old, and acknowledged that he’s in line for more playing time down the stretch:

Jericho, the opportunities that he’s had, he’s played well. So just let him get in there; let him gain some more experience. He’s done a good job as well.

He hasn’t overwhelmed by any means (14 rebounds, 3 assists, two steals, and a block total) in his two games, but Sims has shown flashes of rim protection and one-on-one defense that the New York Knicks very desperately need.

Especially if they’re to lose Mitchell Robinson this summer.

No pressure, Jericho.

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