Which Wizards star could the Knicks be targeting in a Mitchell Robinson trade?

Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) drives to the basket as New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) defends in the third quarter at Capital One Arena
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have reportedly been fielding trade offers from other teams about their 26-year-old center, Mitchell Robinson, with the Washington Wizards among the teams that SNY’s Ian Begley reported having talks with the Knicks about Robinson.

It is unclear exactly who the Knicks are targeting in return for their young seven-footer, though there are some interesting pieces that the Wizards have that could be good fits in New York.

Washington is likely to move on from some of their veteran players this summer, and they have already started that process as they dealt Kristaps Porzingis to the Boston Celtics last offseason and sent Daniel Gafford to the Dallas Mavericks at the trade deadline, both of whom would make the NBA Finals for their new teams.

Could the Knicks be targeting Kyle Kuzma?

Jan 18, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) drives to the basket against the New York Knicks during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A player who could be involved in the Robinson discussions is Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma. The 28-year-old averaged 22.2 points per game last season to go along with 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists. He shot a career-best 46% from the field and 33% from three-point range.

Kuzma is a starting-level player but could also be useful in a bench role as the Knicks currently do not have a true backup power forward. His high-level scoring could be beneficial to a Knicks team that lacked shot-making from its bench unit even prior to all the injuries to the roster.

His contract is also comparable to that of Josh Hart’s, another starting-level player who has thrived as a bench player for New York. Kuzma is under a four-year $90 million contract extension he signed last offseason, just $10 million more than Hart in terms of total money.

Injury history could lead to Mitchell Robinson being traded

Dec 8, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) looks on during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Robinson, meanwhile, is making $15 million annually but has dealt with injuries over the past few seasons, which is part of why the Knicks are mulling a decision to move him. In addition, if they are able to re-sign Isaiah Hartenstein, that leaves Robinson without his starting job once again on the Knicks. Moving him to Washington could give him the playing time he will want as they have an opening at the center position.

Acquiring Kuzma would likely have to include more than simply Robinson. The Knicks will probably need to send over at least a couple of draft picks along with Robinson to make a deal work as it would allow Washington to continue to build after moving on from some of their assets.

Is Jordan Poole also on the Knicks’ radar?

NBA: Washington Wizards at New York Knicks
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There is the possibility of adding guard Jordan Poole to the deal and making it a much larger trade package that could include an additional rotational player from the Knicks and more draft capital. Poole struggled for the larger portion of his first season in Washington but improved when he shifted over to the bench, averaging 20.3 points on 36% shooting from outside the arc in 12 games as a reserve this past season.

However, at this time there is no indication that Poole is on the Knicks’ radar, and his massive contract in which he will be making close to $30 million next season and up to $34 million by the 2026-27 season could financially restrain the Knicks long-term.

Nevertheless, it is not definite that Robinson will be dealt this summer, but working out a deal with the Wizards could be the best situation for both sides if Hartenstein returns to the Knicks. As the draft approaches, trade discussions may heat up and a deal could potentially be struck before or during the draft.

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