Knicks have had ‘trade talks’ with Wizards around starting center

NBA: New York Knicks at Boston Celtics
Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Knicks aim to extend OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein, they may find it necessary to offload Mitchell Robinson and his contract.

Robinson’s Health Concerns and the Knicks Trading Him Away

Robinson missed a significant portion of this postseason due to a foot injury sustained in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Given his recurring health issues, the Knicks are contemplating a trade to free up financial and roster flexibility, potentially paving the way for a new deal with Hartenstein. They have been rumored to have interest in Orlando Magic free agent center Goga Bitadze if they need a supplement.

Throughout his career, Robinson has struggled to maintain consistent availability, playing over 70 games only once and participating in just 51 games last season. Despite averaging 5.0 points, six points, 8.5 rebounds, and shooting .575 from the field, his inability to stay healthy has overshadowed his elite defensive capabilities.

Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots the ball as New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) defends during the first half during game two of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards Show Interest

According to Ian Begley of SNY, several teams, including the Washington Wizards, have expressed interest in acquiring Robinson. The Wizards, lacking a solid presence in the center position and considered one of the weaker teams in the league, see Robinson as a potential solution to their big-man deficit. The Knicks could expect to receive draft capital or a rotational player in return, which would provide some immediate relief and roster depth.

Financial Implications and Future Planning

Trading Robinson would liberate approximately $14.3 million in salary for the 2024-25 season and nearly $13 million the following year. This financial relief would be crucial as the Knicks face potential outbidding by other teams for Hartenstein’s services, who demand a higher salary cap space for a new contract.

By reallocating Robinson’s salary, the Knicks could secure the necessary funds to invest in key players, enhancing their roster’s stability and performance potential in the upcoming seasons. This strategic move not only addresses immediate financial constraints but also gives them more flexibility to extend Hartenstein and Anunoby.

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