New York Knicks: 5 steps for a successful offseason

Scott Perry, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Perry, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 6
Feb 29, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) shoots the ball as Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. (34) defends during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

2) Wait to extend Mitchell Robinson

Another young player eligible for an extension this offseason is Mitchell Robinson. Unlike Ntilikina, since Robinson was drafted in the second round, the mechanics of his contract work a bit differently than if he had been signed as a first round pick.

If Mitch plays out the four years on his deal – with the Knicks guaranteeing the final two seasons – he would be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022; whereas, he would be a restricted free agent coming off the fourth season of a rookie scale contract.

This gives New York two seasons to decide if they want to try to secure Robinson long-term before other teams can openly bid on his services.

Robinson’s contract is non-guaranteed for next season at only $1.6 million. He will earn that amount whether he agrees to an extension with the Knicks this offseason or not. However, starting this winter, New York can offer him a four-year extension for as much as $65 million, factoring in a signing bonus. His salary would first be adjusted to a higher amount beginning in 2021-22, one year earlier than if he plays out the full term of his original deal.

New York can also decline his fourth year option to make him a restricted free agent next season, and then re-sign him for any amount up to his max-level contract. This means Robinson could still earn a similar four-year, $65 million deal, even if the Knicks wait one more season to offer it to him.

But by waiting a year, New York gains valuable information for the new front office and coaching staff to evaluate what type of player Mitch can become. They would then have three seasons of data to make a decision on his true market value, and perhaps sign him to another team-friendly deal before he reaches unrestricted free agency.