3 Knicks Playing Their Final Season in New York

The New York Knicks are stacked with talent but they might not be able to keep the team together past this season.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Mitchell Robinson / Isaiah Hartenstein

It is too early to tell which one, but one of Mitch Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein will almost certainly be gone in the offseason.

Losing either player would hurt the Knicks as they both have performed admirably. Robinson was having the most impactful season of his career before suffering a serious injury 21 games into the season. He was an absolute beast on the offensive glass while managing to stay on the floor for longer stretches and staying out of foul trouble. He has been a crucial piece for what the Knicks have been trying to do on both ends of the floor for the past few seasons.

When Robinson went down, Hartenstein stepped up in a huge way. He continued where Mitch Rob left off, dominating the glass and protecting the rim. He is even a larger factor offensively than Robinson due to his ability to pass and his soft touch around the rim. He is also easily having the best season of his career with averages of 7.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game.

However, Hartenstein's contract is expiring at the end of the season. As a second-round pick who has been a backup most of his career, he will likely prioritize a big payday. Coach Thibodeau would ideally prefer to keep both Robinson and Hartenstein on the roster but that is hard to justify.

Robinson is already on a multi-year deal that will pay him over $14 million next season. Hartenstein would require around the same annual salary for his next deal. Paying the two a combined near-$30 million per year isn't the best use of resources.

It makes too much sense to either trade Robinson and make Hartenstein the full-time starter, or move on from Hartenstein via a sign-and-trade.