Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein


Mitchell Robinson sitting.

As the New York Knicks navigate the offseason, they have some questions to answer about their future center. Isaiah Hartenstein impressed when Mitchell Robinson went down this past season, making it possible that Hartenstein could be the answer. In a proposed trade from Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Knicks would move Robinson to the Memphis Grizzlies for Luke Kennard, the No. 9 pick, and more.

Knicks would get: Kennard, No. 9 pick in the 2024 draft, 2026 second-round pick (via LAC), and 2027 second-round pick (via ATL)

Grizzlies would get: Robinson

“If the Knicks pay anywhere near $72.5 million to keep Hartenstein, that would be a crystal-clear indication of their intent to keep him in the starting lineup,” Buckley wrote on June 1. “That would also sound an alarm for Robinson, whose $14.3 million salary suddenly might be way too much to stomach for a backup big man.

“That alarm could be music to the ears of the Grizzlies, who have a Steven Adams-sized hole in their center rotation and could be itching to get back to their elite ways on the offensive glass. A healthy Robinson would almost guarantee that happens, as he has averaged 5.4 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes for his career and snagged a staggering 6.7 per 36 this season.”

New York Knicks Are Limited in What They Can Offer Isaiah Hartenstein

The New York Knicks could utilize Hartenstein’s Early Bird Rights, but that only allows them to offer him a four-year, $72.5 million contract.

Early Bird Rights often help teams, but according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, there’s a belief that Hartenstein could get upwards of $100 million.

“There’s little expectation he’ll draw such a significant number, but league executives and cap strategists are projecting Hartenstein will be able to draw at least $80 million, and perhaps upward of $100 million, from a team hoping to steal Hartenstein from Madison Square Garden,” Fischer wrote on May 31.

If the Knicks could land Hartenstein to his Early Bird Rights, that would be a signal that they plan on him being the center for the foreseeable future. If not, Robinson would essentially have to be on the team unless they draft or trade for another center.

No. 9 Pick Could Help the Knicks Land a Star

If Robinson isn’t an asset in a trade for a star player during the offseason for the New York Knicks, moving him for other future assets could be ideal. If they were to land the No. 9 pick from the Memphis Grizzlies, that would give them another pick they could use to package with salaries for that star player.

They’re already armed with all of their draft picks and the rights to three additional first-rounders.

According to Fischer, the Knicks are willing to move their future picks in the 2024 and 2025 NBA draft.

It’s uncertain who they’re going to attempt to land, but having as many assets as the Knicks have puts them in a good position for anyone. If they were to land a top-10 pick along the way, plus Kennard who can be used as a salary-matching piece, moving Robinson could be the right decision if Hartenstein returns.

Jon Conahan covers the NBA and NFL for Since 2019, his sports coverage has appeared at Sports Illustrated, oddschecker, ClutchPoints and Sportskeeda. More about Jon Conahan

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