Lakers Rumors: LA Was 'Ready to Snare' Knicks' Mitchell Robinson in 2018 Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2018

LAS VEAGS, NV - JULY 10: Mitchell Robinson #26 of the New York Knicks dunks against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 10, 2018 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly considering rookie center Mitchell Robinson as a draft candidate this offseason, though Robinson's absence from the combine may have lowered their interest.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post: "The Lakers had considered taking him at No. 25 and were ready to snare him at No. 39 if he had dropped, according to sources," though "not being at the draft combine became a red flag for teams picking in the first round."

According to Berman, Robinson's representatives decided to pull him from the combine. Robinson reportedly wanted to participate.

"He had trained two months just for the combine, and he was ready for it," a source told Berman.

The Lakers instead addressed the center position by selecting Michigan's Moritz Wagner at No. 25, while Robinson fell to the New York Knicks at No. 36. The decision to hold him out of the combine likely played a factor in that fall, and it also may have cost Robinson's agent his job.

According to Berman: "Sources indicate Robinson, a Chalmette, Louisiana, product, has moved on from agent Raymond Brothers and has inked John Spencer, who also reps Lance Thomas. Spencer is a former Knicks scout under Ernie Grunfeld."

The move came after Robinson signed a four-year, $6.4 million contract with the Knicks that includes team options for the second and third years.

Robinson's path to the NBA has been a bizarre one. The 20-year-old enrolled at Western Kentucky but never played for the school, dropping out after one summer class. ESPN's Fran Fraschilla told Berman that Robinson likely would have been a lottery pick had he attended Western Kentucky.

He's looked the part in Las Vegas, averaging an impressive 13.0 points, 10.2 rebounds and a whopping 4.0 blocks per contest. That included a six-block performance Thursday, all the more impressive considering Robinson essentially hasn't played five-on-five basketball for over a year.

And he flashed a modern skill set. As Andre Snellings of ESPN.com wrote, "His offense was primarily finding open spaces for dishes and finishing alley-oops more so than posting or creating off the iso, but in today's NBA, there is a definite market for the explosive defender/efficient offensive garbage-man combination."

Enes Kanter is firmly ahead of him on the depth chart, while Luke Kornet and Joakim Noah—if the latter remains with the team next season—are available as well. Robinson may spend a chunk of his season in the G-League, which may have been the case no matter where he was drafted.

Had he gone in the first round, however, his first paycheck would have been a bit heftier.