The Knicks agreed to re-sign center Mitchell Robinson to a four-year, $60 million deal on Friday, a move that, on the surface, seems simply like a team bringing back a core player. However, there is a deeper meaning beneath.
By re-signing with New York, Robinson became the first Knicks draft pick in 23 years to earn a multi-year second contract with the team, breaking the “Charlie Ward Curse.”
New York drafted Ward in the first round of the 1994 draft, then received a multi-year contract with the team in 1999. Since then, no other player drafted by the Knicks signed more than a one-year deal with the team beyond their rookie deal.
The closest player to breaking the curse was David Lee, a Knicks first-round pick in 2005 who signed a one-year extension as a restricted free agent in 2009. However, as an unrestricted free agent in 2010, Lee signed a six-year deal with the Warriors in what became a sign-and-trade with New York.
Even though Robinson “broke” the curse, the Knicks still haven’t extended a first-round pick on a multi-year deal since Ward. However, that may change with RJ Barrett, who is extension-eligible this offseason and by all indications will sign an extension with the team before the deadline in October.
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