The New York Knicks have applied to the NBA for a Disabled Player Exception worth $7.8 million as the franchise projects center Mitchell Robinson will miss the rest of the season, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Major development as Robinson had ankle surgery last week. pic.twitter.com/8EvjWfI9qA
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 21, 2023
Robinson was in the midst of an excellent season before his recent ankle surgery, the latest in a laundry list of injuries scattered throughout his career. The young seven-footer was averaging a career-best 10.3 rebounds per game, including 5.3 on the offensive glass. Each game saw him look more and more like a potential Defensive Player of the Year.
But now, the Knicks desperately need help in the middle. Isaiah Hartenstein can’t do it by himself. Jericho Sims is raw and now out at least a week with his own ankle injury. Taj Gibson, who rejoined the Knicks last week, is 38 years old.
And to add insult to literal injury, Robinson is in the second year of a four-year, $60 million contract.
Granted, Robinson’s absence hasn’t yet sunk the Knicks. New York has gone 4-2 since the 25-year-old was injured on Dec. 8. Hartenstein has done a great job stepping up, averaging 10.7 rebounds since that date. His rim protection has also been strong and he owns a 1.3 defensive box plus/minus (DBPM) on the year.
Even so, expect team president Leon Rose to try and add a big via a trade. Adding Joel Embiid doesn’t seem realistic now, but what about someone like Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns? Or Chicago’s Andre Drummond, who has over a decade of experience and also has an expiring contract?
Or how about a defensive workhorse like veteran journeyman Bismack Biyombo?
One way or another, the Knicks applying for a Disabled Player Exception means they’re looking to add. Perhaps even a star player of sorts. After all, hasn’t that been the goal?
Stay tuned to ESNY for more Knicks updates.