Knicks Could Acquire Rival Team’s Rim-Protector as Mitchell Robinson Replacement

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

Getty Mitchell Robinson of the New York Knicks dribbles during the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The New York Knicks may find themselves on a roll in the new year, as they have gone 4-1 since the calendar page flipped to January, but even they may have to consider making some sort of shakeup should a good opportunity present itself.

Already reported as being one of the most active clubs on the trade market this season, many believe that Leon Rose and company could be willing to take a big swing this year using some of their various expendable assets and, according to Yahoo Sports, one of their at-bat attempts could end up being a trade for the extension-eligible Indiana Pacers pivot, Myles Turner.

Per a January 12 report by senior NBA reporter Jake Fischer, the Knicks are one of several teams who “have registered interest” in pursuing a deal for the 26-year-old should he and the organization see a falling out in current contract negotiations, and believes that their “hoard of draft capital” could be used to acquire him in a possible transaction.

Throughout his eight-year career, Turner has established himself as one of the most lethal rim protectors in the association as he holds a career average of 2.3 blocks per game and boasts an astounding block percentage of 6.9.

The big man has also developed an effective offensive game that includes a savvy shooting stroke that stretches beyond the arc and now, in 2022-23, has found himself putting forth a career season with tremendous averages of 17.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.3 blocks per contests on 55.2% shooting from the floor and 37.9% shooting from deep.

Now, while there’s a strong argument to be made that Turner could be an ideal fit for this defensive-oriented (111.7 defensive rating) and long-range shooting (35.4 3-point attempts per game) Knicks team, Fischer would go on to note that the recent play of Mitchell Robinson “might quell any of New York’s attempts to upgrade its frontcourt,” thus leaving the idea of a pursuit of Turner far from a likely scenario during this trade season.

Knicks, Pacers Have Been Linked to Trade

Though a deal involving Myles Turner doesn’t seem to be all that realistic at this point in time, New York and Indiana could still find themselves partaking in a mid-season transaction at or around the February 9th trade deadline.

During a recent sit down with Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney, an anonymous Eastern Conference executive reported that the Knicks have already engaged in trade talks with the Pacers involving former lottery-selected big man, Obi Toppin.

“There has been some talk between the Pacers and Knicks about Obi (Toppin). He fits in Indiana, especially if they keep Turner. Obi is a rim-runner, he has some toughness, he has athleticism. He needs minutes and a team that is rebuilding with young talent like Indy is a really good match,” the exec told Deveney.

The executive would suggest that a move to the Pacers could prove to be quite beneficial for Toppin when considering he’d almost certainly be inserted into the starting lineup–something that is not likely should he remain with the Knicks–where, throughout his career, he has posted stellar averages of 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and just shy of a block on 57% shooting from the floor and 43.6% shooting from deep when in such a role.

Knicks Predicted to Make Playoffs

Whatever dealings the New York Knicks look to take part in it will almost certainly be in an attempt to better position themselves for a playoff run, as they currently boast a winning record of 23-19, meaning that if the season were to come to an end today they would have ownership of the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

Of course, we still have several months remaining between now and the campaign’s resolution, meaning things can certainly change between now and then.

However, many are big believers in New York ultimately qualifying for the postseason in 2023, with Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report going as far as to predict in a January 12 article that they will snap their one-year hiatus with an eighth-place finish in the standings and a first-round matchup against the Boston Celtics.

“A Knicks-Celtics first round series would provide a tremendous basketball atmosphere, no matter the city or arena, and mark a nice turnaround for a New York team that finished eight games below .500 just a year ago. While Jalen Brunson has been the steady hand to guide this ship all season, it’s been the recent play of Julius Randle (30.9 points, 13.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists over his last 10 games) that should really have Knicks fans excited,” Swartz wrote.

Swartz would finish his prediction analysis by stating that the Knicks may have to make their way into the postseason by partaking in the league’s play-in tournament when considering their second-half schedule (fourth hardest in the conference), but ended off by noting that “this team has proved it belongs back in the playoffs.”

The Knicks have been on an absolute tear since the start of the new year, as they have gone 4-1 during this stretch and sport an impressive record of 13-7 since the beginning of December.

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