Mitchell Robinson's $1.8M Contract Option Exercised by Knicks

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2021

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 27: Mitchell Robinson #26 of the New York Knicks warms up before the game against the Miami Heat on January 27, 2019 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 2019 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

The New York Knicks still want Mitchell Robinson to be a part of their future.

New York exercised the big man's contract option worth $1.8 million on Saturday, per an official announcement from the team.

The Knicks selected Robinson with a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, but it didn't take long for him to be a central part of trade rumors. Marc Berman of the New York Post cited a source who said the New Orleans Pelicans "always liked Mitchell" as the Anthony Davis trade rumors heated up in January 2019 before the latter was sent to the Los Angeles Lakers.

New York never traded him, and this decision further suggests it still believes in the young playmaker, who was thought to have first-round talent but fell in the draft after not playing college basketball.

Jeff Goodman, then of ESPN, reported in July 2017 that Western Kentucky suspended him indefinitely after he left school.

Robinson is just 23 years old and has already shown flashes of his immense talent, so this decision comes as no surprise.

He averaged 8.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game for the playoff-bound Knicks in 2020-21, though he was unable to play in the postseason due to a fractured right hand that required surgery in March.

Robinson also shot 65.3 percent from the field as someone who has demonstrated soft touch around the rim and the athleticism to beat defenders while going for offensive rebounds to create easy putback opportunities. 

The big man also stands out on the defensive side and tallied 1.5 blocks a night this past season as a 7-foot rim protector with length and leaping ability to counter formidable post players. Opponents shot 4.0 percent worse from within six feet of the basket and 2.3 percent worse from the field overall than their normal averages when he defended them in 2020-21, per NBA.com.

Robinson will look to continue impacting the game on both ends of the floor after New York decided to exercise his option.