New York or nowhere.
Knicks center Mitchell Robinson let his intentions known through his wardrobe choice six weeks before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
The 24-year-old Robinson wore a black shirt with New York or Nowhere emblazoned on his chest during his recent visit to his high school in Louisiana earlier this week. Robinson gave his signed Knicks jersey to Chalmette High School principal Wayne Warner.
The Knicks have until June 30 to sign Robinson to a contract extension worth up to $58 million over four years. In a pre-taped interview before the Knicks’ final regular-season game, team president Leon Rose indicated their interest in bringing back Robinson.
“With Mitchell (Robinson), there have been ongoing discussions throughout the year with his agent,” Rose said. “And those discussions will continue for the remainder of the time until free agency.”
It only confirmed the earlier SNY report that both camps are not close to a potential extension.
The Detroit Pistons have been long viewed as the Knicks’ strongest rival for Robinson’s services. They will be in the market for a starting center to pair with Cade Cunningham. They have around $25.5 million in cap space to spend in the free agency.
If the Knicks are heavily associated with Creative Artists Agency, where Rose previously headed their basketball division, the Pistons are known to have close ties with the Wasserman Group.
Arn Tellem was the vice-chairman of the Wasserman Group before he joined the Pistons in the same capacity. George David, a close friend of Knicks GM Scott Perry, has also rejoined the Pistons this season as assistant general manager after spending six years as senior vice president of the Wasserman Group’s basketball division.
The Knicks’ advantage over the Pistons is they have Robinson’s Bird rights, meaning they can go over the cap to sign him after he becomes an unrestricted free agent. If Robinson becomes too rich for their blood, they can do a sign-and-trade in a possible swap with Dallas Mavericks’ point guard Jalen Brunson.
Robinson may be looking to cash in his best season yet, where he played 72 of the 82 games. After a slow start to the season following two serious injuries last year, Robinson had a strong finish averaging a career-best 8.5 points on 76.1 percent field goal shooting and 8.6 rebounds.
Perhaps Robinson’s camp is eyeing a contract in the vicinity of Robert Williams’ $52 million, four-year extension with the Boston Celtics.
Before he burst into the NBA as a second-round steal in the 2019 NBA Draft, Robinson starred for Chalmette and led the Owls to their first state playoff win during his junior year. As a senior, Robinson led them to their first district championship in their regular-season tournament in 20 years, first district title in 21 years in the toughest basketball district in the state, and to the state semifinals for the first time in 32 years.
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