A steady drumbeat of news has pointed towards Mitchell Robinson re-signing with the Knicks — a development sure to surprise fans that had previously resigned themselves to the center’s departure.
Robinson, the only true center on the team’s roster besides 37-year-old Taj Gibson, is slated to hit free agency on Friday, and could have many potential suitors, including the long-rumored interest from the Chicago Bulls.
But, according to several reports, the 24-year-old is now likely to return to Madison Square Garden — with Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reporting that he could ink a 4-year contract worth $60 million.
Retaining the 7-footer would be a major coup for Leon Rose and the Knicks front office, and allow them to keep an up-and-comer who can anchor the team’s defense in the paint.
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Last year, Robinson averaged 8.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks, while posting an impressive 76.1% shooting percentage over 25.7 minutes per game.
The big man contributes to the Knicks’ stellar young core, as the roster currently possesses only 3 players (Julius Randle, Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose) over the age of 25.
Part of the reason the Knicks are able to re-sign Robinson is their recent trade of Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks to the Detroit Pistons, which cleared $19 million in cap space — bringing their total to over $30 million in financial flexibility.
Mucch of that space is slated to go to Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, as NBA executives believe the 25-year-old ball handler will be wearing blue and orange on a 4-year contract worth over $100 million.
That leaves some room for Robinson (though, they would still have to clear a bit more room to make an official offer).
Robinson joined the Knicks as a second round draft pick in 2018, and his game has steadily improved each of his 4 seasons in the league — and earned the praise of head coach Tom Thibodeau, who spoke of his growth and unique play style.
“The work part, the professionalism to continue to grow to impact winning, there’s a lot of room for growth. I don’t know where he’ll end up,” the coach said of his center last year. “There are things he can do that are very unique.”