ESPN writer lists interesting landing spot for Knicks center if team trades him

Will the Knicks trade him this summer?
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The New York Knicks want to re-sign Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency, but what would that mean for Mitchell Robinson? He still has two more seasons left on the deal he signed as a free agent in 2022, so there's a chance he and Hartenstein will both still be in orange and blue in 2024-25.

However, if New York keeps Hartenstein, opposing teams could contact the front office about Robinson. He took over the starting job in 2020-21. When he underwent ankle surgery in early December of this past season, I-Hart took over. When Robinson returned in late March, Hartenstein remained the starting center.

If the Knicks trade for a star this summer, maybe Robinson will be part of the package, assuming Hartenstein stays in New York. Mitch has dealt with several injuries since he was drafted in 2018, but he's one of the league's best (if not the best) offensive rebounders. He was in the DPOY conversation before he injured his ankle.

The Grizzlies are one team that could inquire about a possible Mitch trade. ESPN's Chris Herring thinks a New York-Memphis trade centered around the center is one of the 10 deals that "need to happen" this summer (subscription required).

Should the Knicks consider a Mitchell Robinson-Luke Kennard trade?

Herring wrote that the Grizzlies could include Luke Kennard in a trade to match salaries. The guard has spent the past season and a half in Memphis. In 2023-24, he averaged 11 points on 44.8% shooting from the field and 45% from three. He has a $14.8 million club option next season and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

If the Knicks were to trade Robinson for Kennard, Jericho Sims would be the team's backup center, assuming New York didn't bring in another big man. The issue with that is that Sims doesn't seem to be ready for a more prominent role. He spent most of the season out of the rotation until injuries pushed him back into it.

It'd be nice to have Kennard's shooting off the bench, but the Knicks would also greatly miss Robinson. As Herring wrote, the deal would benefit Memphis, who could use Mitch's help on the boards. Then again, the Grizzlies have to be careful financially.

New York's front office will also have to figure out how to financially navigate the next few seasons. Maybe they'll move on from Mitch's contract this summer, but it should be for a better return package. If I-Hart and Robinson are back next season (and both stay healthy), Mitch may eventually express his desire to go back to having a larger role. Perhaps he'll be traded before the 2025 deadline or next offseason.