NBA Rejects Knicks’ Disabled Player Exception for Mitchell Robinson’s Potential Season Return

‣ The NBA has denied the New York Knicks a $7.8 million Disabled Player Exception for center Mitchell Robinson, due to optimism that he could return this season from his ankle injury.
‣ The Knicks applied for the exception to improve the team’s cap flexibility, despite being aware of the possibility of Robinson’s potential return.
‣ Prior to his injury, Robinson was leading the NBA in offensive rebounds and ranked highly in total rebounds, steals, blocks, offensive rating, and defensive rating.


The NBA has turned down the New York Knicks’ request for a $7.8 million Disabled Player Exception (DPE) for their center, Mitchell Robinson. This decision comes amid optimism that the towering 7-footer might bounce back from his injury this season.

Robinson underwent surgery on his left ankle in mid-December. Initially, the prognosis was an 8-10 week recovery period. However, the Knicks’ medical team later advised the front office that his injury would need more rehabilitation time.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Knicks are currently 14th in line to win this season’s championship. The Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat, on the other hand, are getting better odds at the sportsbooks.

In a tweet, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the NBA’s denial of the Knicks’ DPE. The league was not convinced that Robinson would likely be sidelined until mid-June. The tweet read, “NBA is denying the Knicks a $7.8 million Disabled Player Exception for loss of Mitchell Robinson, because there’s optimism that Robinson can return from ankle surgery to play late in the regular season.”

Robinson’s injury is scheduled for re-evaluation around mid-February. The Knicks’ front office was aware of the possibility of his return, but they still applied for the DPE. They hoped it would help improve the team’s cap flexibility.

Robinson is earning $15.68 million this season, part of the four-year, $60 million deal he signed with the Knicks in July 2022. The DPE, at $7.8 million, was supposed to cover half of Robinson’s salary for this season.

Before his injury, Robinson was leading the NBA in offensive rebounds (112), and he ranked ninth in total rebounds (216). He was also 11th in steals (32), ninth in blocks (109), 20th in offensive rating (127.6), and 16th in defensive rating (108.1). However, backup center Isaiah Hartenstein has stepped up during Robinson’s absence.

In a game against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 3, Hartenstein scored 10 points, grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds, and blocked five shots in 37 minutes. The last Knicks players to achieve this stat line or better were Marcus Camby (2002), Patrick Ewing (12 times from 1988 to 1997), and John Gianelli (1976).

Since Robinson’s injury, the Knicks have made some interesting roster changes. On Dec. 30, they agreed to trade RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and a 2024 second-round draft pick to the Toronto Raptors for OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn.

The addition of Anunoby has propelled the Knicks to become one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They have won five straight games since the trade and climbed to fourth place in the standings. Anunoby is plus-111 through his first five games in a Knicks uniform, making him the first and only player in NBA history to record a plus/minus above 100 in his first five games with a franchise.

If Robinson can make a comeback this season, the Knicks might just become the team to beat in the East.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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