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Knicks Signing Jalen Brunson - And Keeping Mitchell Robinson?

As the Knicks appear to close in on Jalen Brunson, a returning interior threat may not be far behind.

The New York Knicks' efforts to shed pricey appear on pace to pay off big dividends ... just not in the way you think yet.

Bleacher Report claims that while the Knicks continue to shed financial weight in pursuit of Jalen Brunson, "it's believed" that Mitchell Robinson is set to return to Manhattan on a four-year contract "that nears $60 million in total earnings". Robinson, 24, is set to enter his fifth NBA season since joining the Knicks as a second-round draft pick in 2019. 

Since joining up with the Knicks, Robinson has helped the team's defense and rebounding departments remain consistent despite some turbulent times on the franchise timeline. Robinson is set to be a valued commodity on the interior free agent market, but the Knicks are apparently impressed with the way that Robinson worked his way back from a hand injury that cost him most of the 2020-21 season. He set a new career-high with 8.6 rebounds per game and was second in the Association in total offensive boards (295). 

The Knicks' latest dealings have likely not only made it possible to retain Robinson but also necessary as well. In their efforts to score a big-ticket free agent, be it Brunson or otherwise, the Knicks have bypassed opportunities to bolster or complement their interior endeavors. The team originally drafted French-born forward Ousmane Dieng with the 11th overall pick of the last week's NBA Draft but traded him to Oklahoma City in part to potentially avoid the $3 million-plus annual salary afforded to such a draft pick on an initial contract. 

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Additionally, the Knicks also traded reserve center Nerlens Noel, along with Alec Burks and draft picks, to Detroit for further cap relief, making Robinson's return one of utmost importance.

Further clarity on Robinson's situation should emerge on Thursday, when the free agency period opens at 6 p.m. ET.