Mitchell Robinson is coming back on a big pay increase.
The 24-year-old center, the product of smart drafting and patience, agreed to re-sign with the Knicks after a brief flirtation with unrestricted free agency, a source confirmed Friday. Robinson’s agents told ESPN that the deal is worth $60 million over four years, although it’s unclear if that includes any incentives or options.
The re-signing is both important and risky for the Knicks. At over 7-feet tall with bounce, Robinson is theoretically just entering his prime and represents a strong rim protector and finisher in the paint. Two seasons ago, he broke Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA single-season record for field-goal percentage at 74.2%.
Still, Robinson has also proven an injury risk with surgeries to his hand and foot. He has also intermittently grumped about his role and fallen out of shape, only to recover for a late surge last season.
The New Orleans product, who bypassed college before being drafted 36th overall by the Knicks, was vastly underpaid during his first four seasons in the NBA, and many wonder what a big guaranteed payday will do to his motivation.
The new contract is roughly a 1,000% raise from his previous deal.
He’s expected to start at center and, barring any trades, the Knicks’ lineup is taking shape: PG: Jalen Brunson; SG: Evan Fournier; SF: RJ Barrett; PF: Julius Randle; C: Robinson.
With the additions of Brunson and backup center Isaiah Hartenstein, the Knicks have no more cap room but can use a $5.1 million exception, according to NBA CBA guru Bobby Marks.