With the 2021 NBA Draft wrapped up, the offseason is officially underway for the New York Knicks, fresh off of their first playoff berth since 2012-2013.
And they’ve already made several moves to kick things off.
It started with the NBA Draft on Thursday night when they made a number of separate transactions, parting ways with their first-round picks in lieu of future assets.
New York is as serious about their future outlook as they are about winning now, which fed into their next line of decision-making regarding youngsters Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson.
Both once thought of as key members of the Knicks rebuild, have reached the end of their rookie deals.
And for Robinson, things are only going to get more complex from here on out.
Knicks Exercise Robinson’s Option
The New York Knicks elected to exercise Mitchell Robinson’s team option for 2021-2022 on Saturday morning.
This will make him extension eligible this offseason, and furthermore, an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Robinson is coming off of a year where he played just 31 games but showed significant improvements.
He averaged 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game.
What’s to expect of Robinson’s future with New York, now that he can hit free agency after this season?
The Knicks can always approach him about an extension now, in hopes of locking him into a deal beforehand.
But coming off of a season where he missed 41 games, it’s unlikely he’ll like the figure they offer him.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the current framework of an extension would be for four years and $51 million.
Instead, expect Robinson to pursue a bigger payday a year from now, playing out the last year of his contract.
Particularly because things haven’t been “peachy keen” as of recent between him and the New York Knicks.
Robinson Was Growing Restless in Playoffs
Mitchell Robinson suffered two injuries last season that sidelined him for indefinite periods.
The last of those, a broken right foot, saw him miss the final 26 games of the season, and the playoffs, too.
But once they reached the postseason, Robinson became increasingly outspoken about returning to the court.
It seems he felt as if he was healthy enough to play in their first-round series, but the New York Knicks did not.
Whether or not that will play into extension talks this offseason remains unclear.
Luckily enough, their same Plan B from the regular season is looking like he’ll be back for next season.
Knicks Want to Bring Back Nerlens Noel
When the New York Knicks signed Nerlens Noel last summer, it was with the idea that he would back up Mitchell Robinson, providing 48 minutes of elite rim protection.
Instead, their starter went down, twice, and he was asked to step up in a big way.
Noel responded, as the only player in the entire NBA to average at least two blocks and a steal per game.
Now, he’s an unrestricted free agent. And the Knicks have their work cut out for them in bringing him back.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto refreshed the expected field for Noel in his latest reporting on Sunday morning:
The Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, and Sacramento Kings are all expected to pursue Nerlens Noel in free agency, league sources told HoopsHype.
If it comes down to a bidding war for the 27-year old, trust that New York is in a tier of their own as to what they can offer him.
But if he’s looking for a full-time starting job, both Detroit and Toronto can offer that before the Knicks.
As former second-round pick Mitchell Robinson’s future comes into view, the New York Knicks need to push the center position towards the top of the priority list ahead of free agency on Monday.
READ NEXT: Knicks Interested in Reunion with 10x All-Star