The New York Knicks were reportedly unwilling to move young center Mitchell Robinson in a potential trade package for Anthony Davis last year.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, that may have been due to the fact that Steve Mills and Scott Perry selected Robinson in the second round of the 2018 NBA draft. With Leon Rose now in charge as team president, Robinson may not be off limits in trade talks moving forward.
Ultimately, the New Orleans Pelicans dealt Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks.
Robinson was chosen to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team at the end of the 2018-19 season after averaging 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 20.6 minutes per game.
While the Knicks have struggled as a whole this season, Robinson has made strides with averages of 9.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 23.1 minutes per game over the course of 61 contests.
Robinson has made only seven starts this season, but he is a huge part of New York’s frontcourt rotation, and he has a chance to be a defensive force for many years to come. Robinson is also progressing offensively, which suggests he may have an All-Star ceiling.
If the Knicks were indeed unwilling to move Robinson for a shot at Davis, it speaks to how highly the organization views him.
It would have taken far more than just Robinson to land Davis, but Davis is a seven-time All-Star who is averaging 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.4 blocks per game this season. With Davis alongside LeBron James, the Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference this season after missing the playoffs in six straight campaigns.
While Davis likely would have made the Knicks a far more dangerous team and playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference, the lack of another star like James would have made it difficult for New York to truly be an elite team.
Had the Knicks landed a player of Davis’ caliber, though, it is possible that it could have convinced big-name free agents like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to consider the Knicks rather than joining the rival Brooklyn Nets.
The Knicks have several talented young players in Robinson, RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, but none of them have developed into instant stars.
New York may have to break up its young core if it wants to end its soon-to-be seven-year playoff drought anytime soon, and Robinson may be the most attractive player on the trade market due to his defensive ability and reasonable contract.