Spurs could benefit from Knicks' blunder with snag of Mitchell Robinson

Mitchell Robinson
Mitchell Robinson / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs will be looking for some reinforcements in the frontcourt this summer. While they'll no doubt be building through the draft, they'll also have a healthy variety of options to sign in the free agency pool. One player that could end up being a realistic option for the Spurs is Mitchell Robinson.

Back in February, the New York Knicks were reportedly receiving trade offers for their starting center, and they fielded calls on potentially dealing Robinson at the trade deadline. Ultimately, they decided against it and chose to keep him until the offseason. This summer, Robinson will become an unrestricted free agent and have the choice of signing wherever he desires.

While the Bulls and Pistons were interested in Robinson at the deadline, it's likely there will be many more teams inquiring about him once he hits free agency. So instead of getting a decent return for Mitchell mid-season, New York put themselves in a position to potentially lose him for nothing in the offseason.

The Knicks can still re-sign Robinson, but they'll have to outbid other teams in the mix. It's unlikely they'll want to break the bank for him when they have to think about Julius Randle, whose contract extension takes effect next year. This is where the Spurs have an opportunity to make a move.

San Antonio Spurs
Mitchell Robinson / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Robinson Would Make Sense In San Antonio

Financially, signing Mitchell Robinson would be a doable move for San Antonio. It's expected that the fourth-year center will command a contract of around $11 million per year, which is likely more than the Knicks would want to take on considering he earned less than $2 million in 2021-22. If the Spurs choose to move on from Lonnie Walker this summer, they would have $27 million in cap space, giving them ample room to ink a deal in that range.

On the court, Robinson is a good fit as well. A legitimate seven-footer that boasts a 7'4" wingspan, he has all the length and athleticism you could want in a defensive-minded big man. Mitchell is an excellent shot-blocker, ranking fourth in both total blocks and blocks per game this past season.

Offensively, he plays primarily in the dunker spot, where he finishes at one of the highest rates in the NBA. In 2019-20, Robinson led the NBA in shooting percentage at 74.2%. He recorded what would have been a league-leading 76.1% field goal percentage this year, but came 39 shot attempts shy of the 300-field goal attempt minimum. Put simply, he knows how to put the ball in the hoop.

Where Mitchell Robinson shines the most is his rebounding. A stalwart on the boards, he's a true game changer when he's gobbling up misses and turning them into high-percentage shots at the rim. He's upped his rebounding mark in each year of his career thus far. Critics will harp on Robinson's lack of a perimeter game, but he's so elite on the interior that it's borderline nitpicking. Plus, a trip to the Spurs' shot doctor Chip Engelland never hurt anyone.

When NBA free agency goes live in June or July, Mitchell Robinson could very well be one of the names San Antonio looks at signing for a reasonable price. Depending on what the team decides to do with other currently rostered frontcourt players, signing Mitchell could be an underrated move that impacts winning in the immediate future.

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Robinson's scoring efficiency and presence as a rim protector combined with high-level rebounding skills would make him a valuable addition to the Spurs this summer.