Bulls could be Knicks’ top Mitchell Robinson free-agency competition

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As Knicks center Mitchell Robinson continues with his cryptic Instagram posts, a small but clear free-agent market awaits him.

After the Feb. 10 trade deadline, The Post reported the Pistons and Bulls talked to the Knicks in the days leading up to it. The Knicks cut off talks with 24 hours to go, deciding they would keep Robinson and roll the dice.

The Knicks received a boon when the Pistons dropped in the lottery from a top-three pick to fifth, lessening their chances of landing premier 7-foot-1 center Chet Holmgren. The Post previously reported the Pistons likely wouldn’t pursue Robinson if they landed Holmgren.

However, the Knicks aren’t out of the woods yet.

The Post has learned the Bulls are continuing to do their research on Robinson ahead of the July 1 free-agency period. The Bulls could be the main competitors for Robinson if the Knicks don’t lock him up to a contract extension on June 30.

The Bulls want to enhance their interior defense and believe Robinson could be a good fit slotted alongside offensive center Nikola Vucevic. Chicago reportedly has $49 million in cap space but that’s before they commit to free agent Zach Lavine — if they do commit.

The Knicks could have some free agency competition for Mitchell Robinson.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Meanwhile, an NBA source said center-starved Dallas is not expected to be interested in Robinson at his hefty price tag (at least $11M per year) and have set their sights on  cheaper free-agent centers.

In February, sources indicated Robinson wasn’t in a good place in his relationship with the Knicks and his uncle tweeted he can’t wait for Robinson to leave New York. However, sources indicate, it’s likely Robinson will simply take the best offer after being paid the NBA minimum his first four years.

The Knicks can keep him out of free agency if they offer him a max contract extension of four years, $55 million before July 1.

According to a source, the Knicks main concern is how the 24-year-old Robinson will respond if he gets a lucrative long-term deal. Maturity has always been an issue with the 2018 second-round pick from Louisiana.

Robinson’s social-media has always mystified. In the past, he’s issued passive-aggressive missives about lacking a larger role in the offense.

In his latest post this week, Robinson put out a video entitled “DefenseOnA String.com’’ — a humorous reenactment in which the players were roped together and  dragged in unison to the correct defensive spot to prove the axiom “defense on a string is a must have.’’ Robinson wrote onto the video page: “Send this to Thibs.’’

The shot-blocking and alley-oop/putback dunk machine has declined to say if he wanted to remain a Knick, brushing off inquiries by saying: “Talk to my agent.’’ Robinson is on his sixth agent, Thad Foucher, who has laid low.

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