Mitchell Robinson

Knicks Notes: Henson, Robinson, Noel, Thibodeau

John Henson‘s 10-day contract with the Knicks expired overnight and the team doesn’t plan to sign him for another 10-day stint, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who notes (via Twitter) that the big man injured his calf on the second day of his deal and didn’t get a chance to play at all.

With Henson no longer under contract, the Knicks have an open spot on their 15-man roster and could create a second one if they don’t re-sign Norvel Pelle after his second 10-day deal expires next Wednesday night. Pelle made a case on Wednesday for a rest-of-season contract, as he was a plus-19 in just 13 minutes in New York’s victory over New Orleans.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks haven’t played any worse with Mitchell Robinson sidelined this season than they have with him in the lineup, prompting Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News to wonder how heavily the team should be willing to invest in Robinson on his next contract.
  • Nerlens Noel has played a major part in making up for Robinson’s absence. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report takes a closer look at Noel’s resurgence and how it could impact the former lottery pick’s upcoming free agency.
  • Like Mark Cuban‘s Mavericks, Tom Thibodeau‘s Knicks may have to earn their playoff spot in a play-in tournament despite a possible top-eight finish. However, Thibodeau is more enthusiastic than Cuban about the merits of the play-in tournament, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “I think we have to let it play out first and then assess it again,” Thibodeau said. “But I think a lot of a lot of teams being involved in important games, I think that that’s good for the league. I think you’re always concerned about that. And so let’s see we’ll how it plays out but the initial thought of it I think is very good.”
  • Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy pointed to the “extra training camp” that Thibodeau and the Knicks got last fall as one reason for the team’s surprise emergence this season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The teams that weren’t invited to the Walt Disney World bubble last summer were granted up to two weeks of organized team activities in September and October — that was Thibodeau’s first real chance to get familiar with his players, though it’s worth noting the roster was overhauled to some extent after that.

Knicks Rumors: Robinson, Bell, Maker, Cousins, Whiteside

The Knicks‘ contract with Mitchell Robinson allows the team to retain the young center in 2021/22 for just $1.8MM, assuming his option is exercised. But in that scenario, he’d become an unrestricted free agent in ’22. New York could assert more control over Robinson’s free agency by turning down the team option and issuing a qualifying offer to make him restricted this summer.

Now that a broken foot is likely to sideline Robinson for the rest of the 2020/21 season, Marc Berman of The New York Post cites league sources who believe the Knicks’ decision has become simpler — the club doesn’t have enough information yet on Robinson to send him to free agency so soon, those sources say, arguing that picking up his option for ’21/22 is the right move.

Exercising Robinson’s team option would still allow the Knicks to negotiate a possible extension during his contract year. In that scenario, they could go as high as about $54MM over four years with a straight extension offer, or even higher with a renegotiation-and-extension. However, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tells Berman that he’d be surprised if New York is that aggressive in extension talks.

“Coming off a serious injury, I’m not paying him what Christian Wood got in Houston,” Marks said, referring to Wood’s three-year, $41MM contract with the Rockets. Marks suggests something in the three-year, $30MM range would be more realistic.

One source tells Berman that he believes the Mavericks will have interest in Robinson if and when he reaches free agency.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • With Robinson out, the Knicks will probably add a center for “insurance” purposes, per head coach Tom Thibodeau, Berman writes in the same story. Berman confirms a previous report that John Henson and Norvel Pelle are among the options being considered by the club and says New York has also had internal talks about Jordan Bell, Thon Maker, DeMarcus Cousins, and Hassan Whiteside.
  • Cousins appears likely to join the Clippers for at least 10 days, while Whiteside – a buyout candidate – remains a King for now. Berman notes that the Knicks’ brass likes the team’s chemistry and would want a player who fits “seamlessly” into the locker room, so Cousins and Whiteside may be lower on the wish list for that reason anyway.
  • While the Knicks seem likely to add a center, Nerlens Noel believes he and Taj Gibson are capable of handling the five in Robinson’s absence, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “I feel like we have it covered, but that’s not my department,” Noel said. “That’s (the front office’s choice). … If Coach, management wants to add another piece, that’s all up to them. I definitely feel we’re comfortable with what we have. “We have depth in Kevin (Knox) and Obi (Toppin) staying available at the four, five spots and that helps as well, so I like the versatility we have.”

Mitchell Robinson Undergoes Foot Surgery

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson underwent surgery on Monday to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, the team’s PR department tweets. There’s no timetable for a return this season.

The snakebit young big man was injured on Saturday during the first quarter in Milwaukee when he jumped and then landed awkwardly. Robinson was appearing in his fourth game after missing 15 with a broken right hand. He had a metal plate inserted into the hand to help stabilize it.

The 22-year-old has been limited to 30 games during his third NBA season, averaging 8.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 1.5 BPG.

The Knicks have cap room to use on the buyout market, but several big men have already committed to other teams.

Meanwhile, the Knicks hold a $1.8MM team option on Robinson for 2021/22. Picking up that option would put Robinson on track for unrestricted free agency in 2022, while turning it down would make him a restricted free agent this summer.

That’s not a straightforward decision — while exercising the option would lock up Robinson at a bargain price for another year, it would take away the Knicks’ ability to match any offer once he eventually reaches free agency.

Knicks Notes: Robinson, Drummond, Free Agents, Payne

Knicks players were crushed to learn that center Mitchell Robinson suffered another serious injury Saturday night, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Playing his second game back in the starting lineup, the third-year center got hurt midway through the first quarter when he tried for a steal attempt. Robinson landed awkwardly and wound up with a fracture in his right root. The Knicks announced the injury to the public, but didn’t tell the players until after the game.

“He worked so hard to get back,” RJ Barrett said. “To see him go down again, it hurts us, hurts the team. But we’re just — we’re gonna be with him every step of the way until he gets back.”

The timing is particularly bad for New York, coming on the same night that word leaked that LaMarcus Aldridge plans to signs with the Nets and Andre Drummond appears headed to the Lakers. The Knicks have cap room to use on the buyout market, but the two biggest names are already likely committed.

“He’ll be fine,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of Robinson. “He’ll have to go through rehab and stuff, but he’s been through that before, and just maximize his time that way. But you feel for a teammate. It’s part of the game, and you have to deal with it as best you can.”

There’s more from New York:

  • “One or two prominent voices” in the Knicks’ front office were in favor of pursuing Drummond before the organization cooled on the idea, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). He adds that the team had been hoping to use the rest of the season to evaluate how Robinson fits in Thibodeau’s system. If New York picks up Robinson’s $1.8MM team option for 2021/22, it would put him on track for unrestricted free agency in ’22. Begley states that Gorgui Dieng, Norvel Pelle and John Henson could be potential low-cost pickups for the Knicks, who have an open roster spot.
  • Assistant coach Kenny Payne will remain in New York, even though DePaul had strong interest in making him its next head coach, Begley tweets.
  • The Knicks were quiet at the trade deadline while teams around them in the standings made big moves, notes Steve Popper of Newsday. The organization has adopted a strategy of preserving its assets for the future, rather than gambling to make a playoff run this year.

Knicks Center Mitchell Robinson Fractures Foot

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson suffered a fracture in his right foot during tonight’s game, the team announced on Twitter. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

The injury happened midway through the first quarter in Milwaukee, according to Greg Joyce of The New York Post. Robinson landed awkwardly after jumping and hobbled off the court.

While no timeline for a possible return will be considered until Robinson is examined in New York, a fracture threatens to sideline him for at least the rest of the season and the playoffs. The Knicks hold a $1.8MM team option on Robinson for 2021/22.

Robinson returned to the court this week after missing 15 games with a broken right hand. He had a metal plate inserted into the hand to help stabilize it. The 22-year-old has been limited to 30 games during his third NBA season, averaging 8.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per night.

It may be a long shot, but the Robinson injury could change the Knicks’ perspective on trying to outbid the Lakers for center Andre Drummond, who will clear waivers Sunday afternoon. A report earlier tonight said New York has pulled out of the competition for Drummond, even though the club has about $15MM in cap space to make an offer.

Trade Rumors: Lowry, Knicks, Ball, Suns, Nuggets

Kyle Lowry‘s future is the focus around the NBA right now, Shams Charania said on Stadium’s live trade deadline show on Twitter.

According to Charania, the Raptors remain seriously engaged with the Heat and Lakers, having been offered packages headed by Duncan Robinson (Miami) or Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (L.A.). Toronto is pushing for the inclusion of Tyler Herro or Talen Horton-Tucker in any deal with the Heat or Lakers, says Charania.

Charania adds that the Heat are believed to be Lowry’s preferred destination.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Knicks have remained engaged with the Pelicans today about a possible Lonzo Ball trade, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. New York is also receiving inquiries on center Mitchell Robinson, according to Begley, though it’s not clear if the team is open at all to moving Robinson.
  • As of earlier this afternoon, the Suns weren’t close to making any deals, and all signs pointed to them standing pat at the deadline, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • The Nuggets are likely done dealing after agreeing to trades for Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

Atlantic Notes: Boucher, Robinson, Sixers, Nurse

Raptors forward Chris Boucher, enjoying a stellar offensive year after re-signing with Toronto to a bargain two-year, $13.5MM deal during the offseason, still has room to grow on defense, according to Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star.

“It’s a tricky spot we’re in because (Boucher) looks great on (offense),” head coach Nick Nurse said this past week. “Even the blocked shots look great. But we’re giving up a lot of things at the other end. We’ve got to figure it out.” In 24.1 MPG, Boucher is averaging career-highs of 14.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 2.0 BPG this season, while connecting on a career-high 43.9% of his 3.8 three-point attempts.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who could return to New York’s rotation as soon as tonight, had a metal plate inserted into his hand following surgery to address his broken right hand, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets.
  • While other teams in the East have made intriguing upgrades as they shore up their rosters for the playoffs (such as Milwaukee’s deal for P.J. Tucker and Miami’s trade for Trevor Ariza), Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that the Sixers appear willing to selectively make improvements should it help their title odds. According to Pompey, the 76ers have been active in discussions with teams about being a third partner in three-team transactions, and the club may consider buyout market additions as well.
  • Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has been fined $50K by the NBA after he threw his mask into the stands while protesting the officiating of a 115-112 Toronto loss to the Jazz on Friday, according to Steven Psihogios of Yahoo Sports“It just didn’t seem like they were going to let us win tonight,” Nurse complained. “A lot of calls, man. Every trip, every possession was free throws.” The Jazz had 41 free throw opportunities, while the Raptors took just 14.

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Drummond, Robinson, Ntilikina

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has a reputation for preferring veterans over young players and other future assets, but he indicated the organization might not take that approach this year, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks have exceeded expectations so far, holding a 21-21 record that has them tied for sixth place in the East. Although there’s temptation to add talent to end a long playoff drought, Thibodeau suggested the team is willing to take a long-term approach.

“It’s important for us to go step-by-step and not skip over things,’’ he said. “The whole goal this year is to build a foundation and the right type of habits. Wherever that leads us, it leads us. Our players have responded. In this league, you’re always looking for player development first, then look at the draft and free agency, then trades. You never stop working in all four areas. Every day it’s how can we make the team better. That’s where our focus lies with coaches, front office and players. We’re all tied together. We’re going to do what’s best for the Knicks.’’

Berman notes that two of the most prominent names the Knicks have been tied to — Rockets guard Victor Oladipo and Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball — will be free agents this summer and may be obtainable without breaking up the young core.

There’s more from New York:

  • Andre Drummond could be worth watching if he reaches a buyout with the Cavaliers, Berman adds in the same story, but there’s “mutual disinterest” between the Knicks and Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who plays the same position as Julius Randle.
  • Center Mitchell Robinson could be back Sunday after missing 15 games with a broken hand, but he may not rejoin the starting lineup right away, Berman states in a separate story. Nerlens Noel has been effective in his place, and Robinson may return on a minutes restriction. “I want to see how that goes,” Thibodeau said. “There’s great versatility there. Eventually, he’ll get back to starting. Whether that happens right away or down the road … I’m comfortable with both guys in that role. And I’m really comfortable with Taj (Gibson) as well. That gives us great depth at that position.”
  • Frank Ntilikina, who’s on the final year of his rookie contract and will have a $15.6MM cap hold if he receives a qualifying offer, seems to be the most likely Knicks player to be traded, according to Steve Popper of NewsdayAlec Burks, Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton all have expiring contracts, but an Eastern Conference scout told Popper their trade value is limited to a second-round pick apiece.

Knicks Center Mitchell Robinson Could Return Sunday

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson could return to action on Sunday against Philadelphia. He’s listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, the Knicks’ PR department tweets.

Robinson’s shot-blocking presence adds another big man option for coach Tom Thibodeau. Robinson underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his right hand in mid-February.

Robinson was expected to miss four to six weeks after suffering the injury, which occurred against Washington when his hand banged Julius Randle‘s elbow as he attempted to block a Rui Hachimura shot. He was cleared for practice earlier this week.

He’s averaging 8.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 1.5 BPG in 28.8 MPG. The 2018 second-round pick is one of the lowest-paid regulars in the league at $1.66MM. The team holds a $1.82MM option on his contract for next season.

Derrick Rose, who has been sidelined throughout the month due to the league’s health and safety protocols, will not play on Sunday. The club has not publicly indicated if Rose contracted the COVID-19 virus, but Thibodeau said the veteran point guard was “feeling a lot better” earlier this week.

Atlantic Notes: Perry, Robinson, Ainge, Powell

During a conversation on the Glue Guys Podcast, do-everything Nets guard Bruce Brown expressed his excitement about rookie power forward Reggie Perry, freshly returned to Brooklyn after logging time in the G League “bubble” for the Long Island Nets. As relayed by Net Income of Nets Daily, Brown raved about Perry.

“The person I hadn’t seen a lot that was killing it in training camp was Reggie Perry,” Brown said. “He looked like he could be in the rotation. He was doing a little bit of everything, hitting threes, jump hooks, killing people, killing (center DeAndre Jordan) low key. He literally was killing training camp.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Though the Knicks have yet to supply a recovery timeline for the fourth metacarpal fracture incurred by center Mitchell Robinson on February 12, a Northwestern University-based orthopedic hand surgeon indicated to Marc Berman of the New York Post that Robinson could be out for a total of six to eight weeks.
  • During a conversation with Brian Robb of Mass Live, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge discussed a variety of topics, including just how active Boston will be in the week leading up to the trade deadline. “I always go into the trading deadline, thinking that there’s something that we can do to help our team,” Ainge said. “I’m not talking about a big talent swing, I’m talking about just incremental positional changes you know one position in place of another, that we could use.”
  • Raptors guard Norman Powell, on a tear of late, has emerged as perhaps Toronto’s top trade asset ahead of the deadline next week, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Powell has an $11.6MM player option for the 2021/22 season.