Knicks Float Robinson Trade Amid Hartenstein's Free Agency Buzz

NBA trade winds stir as Knicks face cap dilemma

by Zain ul Abedin
Knicks Float Robinson Trade Amid Hartenstein's Free Agency Buzz
© Sarah Stier/Getty Images

While the New York Knicks continue to work through the challenges of the summer, two key big men are at the center of the decision-making: Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein. The franchise is said to be planning the Robinson trade to facilitate Hartenstein in free agency, according to Yahoo Sports.

Robinson, who has been a defensive stalwart for the Knicks, has two more years on his four-year, $60 million extension, or $27.3 million. While he has done well guarding his opponents, Robinson has not had the best of luck with injuries during his time with the Knicks.

After the signing of the extension in 2022, he played in 90 games and performed only 6 of 13 postseason games in the last season due to the stress fracture in the left ankle, which required surgery. On the other hand, Hartenstein has proven to be an essential player for the Knicks, especially when Robinson is inactive.

During the previous season, Hartenstein scored 7.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game; he was also consistently reliable, participating in 157 of 164 possible regular season games over the last two years. His steady performance and reliability make him an ideal candidate for the Knicks, who are seeking stability in their front line.

Knicks' Cap Crunch Impact

However, keeping Hartenstein could prove to be very expensive. The New York Knicks are slightly over the salary cap, which means that they can only offer Hartenstein a maximum of around $17 million per year for a possible contract of up to $72 million in total.

Five million over four years. This situation hinders the Knicks’ financial freedom and increases the likelihood of a Robinson trade as the organization attempts to manage their roster and budget better. The Knicks’ issue is not singular to the NBA.

Other clubs are also likely to make changes in their rosters; the Bucks’ Brook Lopez, the Hawks’ Clint Capela, the Jazz’s Walker Kessler, and the Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart are among the centers that may be involved in a trade.

This change occurs at the time when the teams analyze their approach and players in preparation for the following season. Among these trends, Oklahoma City Thunder are listed as prospective suitors in the market for a backup center after they led the Western Conference in wins last season; their interest in a situational reserve rather than a high-priced starter could affect the rest of the market, including the Knicks.