Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

NBA Rumors: Knicks Engaging With Wizards In Trade Talks

New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein posts up Washington Wizards center Marvin Bagley III

The New York Knicks don’t want to let free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein go. Indeed, the Knicks may want to bring the slender shot-blocker back as their starter. The only problem is that —for the last four seasons —Mitchell Robinson has started at the five for them. At least when healthy – and therein lies the ultimate problem.

Robinson has missed 115 regular season games since the 2020-21 season, including more than half of two separate campaigns. His reliability in question, he may have been expendable without Hartenstein’s rise. So, with Hartenstein playing outstanding basketball in his absence, it only puts his future with the team in a more precarious position.

There are financial reasons to make this move as well.

As the Knicks can free up to around $27 million in cap space by offloading Robinson’s contract (and renouncing the rights to all of their free agents except Hartenstein), there’s further incentive to move him. As of now, the Knicks can only offer Hartenstein $16.2 million annually because they’re above the cap and have his Early Bird Rights. If they can instead sign using cap space, they have a better chance of competing with what could be a sizable offer from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Knicks Engaging With Wizards In Mitchell Robinson Trade Talks

Despite his lack of durability, Robinson should be a hot commodity if he’s put on the trade block. A true 7-footer, the big man excels when anchoring a defense with his rim-protection. His length, timing, and physicality are all top-notch, allowing him to block 1.9 shots in 24.5 minutes per game. Teams looking to improve their interior defense would certainly have an interest in the 26-year-old.

One of those teams appears to be the Washington Wizards, as they’re “among the teams whose talks with the Knicks have included dialogue on Robinson,” per SNY insider Ian Begley.

The Wizards have all hands on deck for their rebuild, so a player like Robinson may seem like a strange target.

However, at his age, he still fits the timeline as a young but mature piece to their puzzle. Furthermore, every lead executive wants their team to be as competitive as possible as quickly as possible. Wizards general manager Will Dawkins is no different. Though he doesn’t anticipate Washington competing with the likes of the Boston Celtics in the immediate future, that resignation is also realistic. Washington, as currently constructed, will need time to become a championship-caliber team.

Robinson simply accelerates that process.

The Draft Effects

If the Wizards do land Robinson and are unable to select Zaccharie Risacher, it puts their draft plans into question.

Alexandre Sarr presumably sees himself as more of a power forward and not without merit considering his guard skills. However, as his perimeter skills are yet refined, his length and shot-blocking abilities will likely lead to him playing at least some minutes at center. Though he could still make a sizable impact in his rookie season, the Wizards’ roster construction might lead to him minutes being squeezed.

In that event, Washington could look at this year’s talented group of perimeter prospects. Or perhaps they still draft Sarr, while leaving the door open for a draft night trade.


More Posts