New York Knicks: Solutions for their center problem(s)

Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Mitchell Robinson, NY Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Knicks: The long-term solution at center

The answer here depends on how much the Knicks’ brass decides Mitchell Robinson is worth, a decision that can’t be informed until he completes a healthy campaign under Thibs (if he misses time again next year, the decision becomes an easy one).

Clint Capela makes 19 million next year. Myles Turner makes 18. Steven Adams, who’s nearing obsoletion, makes 17. Valanciunas makes 14, which makes him underpaid when you consider the impact he’s had in Memphis. There’s absolutely no way Mitchell Robinson if he has a good year, accepts anything less than a comparable salary.

Is 4 yrs/$56M too much for the Knicks to stomach? Would that even be enough to get it done on Mitch’s end?

A future with Robinson is ideal if Rose can make the money work, but the Knicks do have other more pressing needs, so it’s distinctly possible that he won’t. Robinson’s demands could very well be too rich, forcing Rose to pursue alternatives.

Those alternatives could include this year’s draft, where there are several interesting options projected where the Knicks pick (Kai Jones, Day’Ron Sharpe, Filip Petrusev, etc.). Or they could return to free agency, where both starting and backup centers seem to always be available. Do the Knicks need someone on a multi-year deal?

Can they rise to contender status with a revolving door at center, similar to what the Lakers and others have done lately?

I’m getting ahead of myself. But what’s been made clear this season is the Knicks need to improve offensively. Despite Top-3 shooting from beyond the arc, and significant improvement post-All Star break, they still finished 26th in the league in PPG and 23rd in Offensive Rating. They cannot keep trotting out zeros on offense. The point guard zero has been addressed; now it’s on Thibs and Rose to fix it at center, both now and moving forward.

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