Could Mitchell Robinson prevent the Knicks from landing a superstar center via trade?

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives to the basket against New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors have not quieted down about the New York Knicks‘ interest in Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.

The NBA trade deadline is just over one month away, putting the onus on Leon Rose and the Knicks front office to bring an All-Star to the Big Apple.

Latest rumblings indicate that the Knicks will likely make a play for Towns, but it won’t involve starting center Mitchell Robinson, as Action Network’s Matt Moore claimed:

“Notably, the Knicks have no intention of including the injured Mitchell Robinson, even if he were healthy. Robinson is out another 6-8 weeks before being re-evaluated, with speculation that he could miss the rest of the season. “

Robinson Brings a Skillset That the Knicks Will Miss Should He Be Moved

The Knicks’ defense was rolling at the time that Robinson went down. They owned the No. 3 defensive rating in the league at the time, and Robinson was also finding ways to contribute at a high level on the offensive end.

His 5.5 offensive rebounds per game were leading the NBA as well. Robinson has anchored the Knicks on the interior since joining the team back in 2017.

Albeit, Towns is a surefire All-Star talent with outside shooting and playmaking capabilities that Robinson does not possess. The gap between the two on offense is much greater than what Towns gives up to Robinson on defense.

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A Third Team May Need to Be Added to a Knicks Trade Offer For Towns

Moore also made mention of the Timberwolves not wanting reigning All-NBA Third Team member Julius Randle from the Knicks in return for Towns and that a third team would likely have to get involved to make a deal work.

A stand-off leaves the Knicks with a likely ultimatum — give up Randle in order to bring Towns to New York. This would kill their chances of forming a big three while also bringing in a player in Towns who, as good as he is, has his share of question marks surrounding his ability to lead a team to a deep postseason run, like Randle.

The Knicks are forecasted to be major players in the trade market from now until Feb. 8. Their acquisition of O.G. Anunoby likely won’t be the last move they make.