Knicks Trade Rumors: Mitchell Robinson Drawing Interest from Pistons Before Deadline

Doric SamFebruary 6, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 23: Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks dunks the ball during the game against the LA Clippers on January 23, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson is reportedly drawing interest from teams around the NBA ahead of Thursday's trade deadline.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, among those teams are the Detroit Pistons, who envision pairing him with promising rookie guard Cade Cunningham.

"Robinson would fit the team’s desire to find players on the same timeline as rookie Cade Cunningham," Begley wrote. "It’s unknown if Detroit would pursue Robinson via trade or if the club would only consider him if/when he hits free agency."

Robinson is in the final year of his rookie contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. New York has yet to offer him an extension, which could make the team more willing to listen to trade offers.

The 7-footer's averages of 8.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks may be modest. But at 23 years old, the third-year pro is one of the most promising young big men in the NBA because of his prowess on defense.

"The rim protection is elite. … He’s got gifts that are special," Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said of Robinson prior to Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. "He can cover a lot of ground, he can be out [on the perimeter] and get back [to the paint], drop with the roller [when defending the pick-and-roll], protect the rim. Change shots [at the rim]; people are always looking for him [at the rim]."

The Pistons are 12-40 this season and are in the midst of a long-term rebuild. Detroit's roster is filled with young players who are still trying to find their way in the league, so adding Robinson would be a significant upgrade.

When healthy, Cunningham has shown the promise that made him the No. 1 pick in last year's draft. Through 41 games, the point guard is averaging 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists. With a player like him leading the way, Detroit will have a better chance at attracting free agents to help improve its roster.