The New York Knicks held on for dear life at the trade deadline on February 10, failing to unload any big contracts and acquire more assets for the future. The only deal they managed to complete was with the Atlanta Hawks regarding Cam Reddish, who has made a minimal impact since joining the team.
One player, the Knicks, received calls about was center Mitchell Robinson, who fouled out against the Brooklyn Nets in a devastating defeat after holding a 28 point lead at one point in the game.
Robinson has dealt with foul troubles in two of the last three games but is still having a phenomenal season with the Knicks putting together some consistent performances thanks to a positive health trend. Last year, Robinson struggled with a fractured hand and foot at different points in a season, impacting his flow and rhythm.
The problem is, the Knicks had an opportunity to unload Robinson for assets or include him in a more lucrative deal, but now the Knicks may walk away without getting any value from their homegrown big man.
Marc Berman of the NY Post reported that the Knicks could lose Mitchell Robinson in free agency:
Four teams went after Knicks center Mitchell Robinson at Thursday’s trade deadline, including the Bulls and Pistons, according to an NBA source.
Ultimately the Knicks pulled back, didn’t make any trades, and now risk losing their longest-tenured player as an unrestricted free agent this July.
According to the source, two of the teams who had contacted the Knicks about Robinson got the impression they will lose him if he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The source said the relationship between Robinson and the Knicks currently isn’t on firm ground.
The Bulls were intrigued by Robinson, according to the source, because they were looking for another defensive center to go along with Nikola Vucevic as they eye a long playoff push.
The Knicks’ decision to not trade Robinson for assets shows they at least feel Robinson would accept a contract extension if one is offered. They can offer him an extension of five years, $55 million.
If the Knicks really allow Mitch to walk without offering him an extension following the end of the season, they will have made a massive mistake. If they never planned on extending him, extracting any value at the deadline would have been a more efficient move.
Robinson will have plenty of suitors looking to add him as a key component to their team, especially if more proficient clubs come calling. Robinson could have a far better situation on the table, notably with the Chicago Bulls, who could use his physicality inside.
Alternatively, the Knicks still have Nerlends Noel, who’s made next to no impact this year struggling with injuries. The front office struck out miserably in free agency last off-season, and if they continue with this trend, they will once again be staring rock bottom in the face.
Some are starting to argue that the Knicks dropping out of the play-in tournament is their best course of action, securing a premium draft pick, which could be an enticing factor in landing an established star in free agency.