3 trade targets the Knicks must pursue to replace Mitchell Robinson

San Antonio Spurs v New York Knicks
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#3: Goga Bitadze- Orlando Magic

Goga Bitadze filled in admirably as the starting center for the Orlando Magic after Wendell Carter Jr. underwent surgery to address a broken bone in his hand, starting 20 games in Carter’s stead before recently returning to the bench. In those 20 starts, Bitadze averaged 8.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game while shooting 71.1 percent from the charity stripe and 58.8 percent overall. 

He’s an efficient scorer, albeit on limited touches. Nearly 75 percent of his field goal attempts come from within three feet of the basket, and he’s converting them at an eye-popping 70 percent clip. He’s not an efficient shooter from deep, and he doesn’t attempt many 3-pointers, but if you leave him open, he’s not afraid to shoot it and force the defense to play honestly.  

He’s a solid rebounder as well, especially on the offensive glass. Since the start of the 2022–23 season, he’s averaging more than two offensive boards per game. He’s also a good shot blocker and rim deterrent.

While he’s not as athletic as the other names on this list, Bitadze relies on his basketball IQ and timing to alter and block shots without getting into foul trouble. The former 18th overall pick has recorded 40 blocks on the season and has ten games with at least two blocks, including six games with three or more. 

His impact shows up in the advanced stats as well. According to basketball reference, opponents have a 108.7 offensive rating against the Magic when he’s on the court, compared to 112.5 when he’s riding the pine. Orlando’s also better on the boards when he plays. The Magic collects 28.3 percent of available offensive rebounds and 53.3 percent of all rebounds when he’s on the court, but those numbers drop to 24.8% and 50.6%, respectively, while he’s on the bench.

The 24-year-old center is under team control through the 2024–25 season, so the Knicks will get at least a year and a half out of Bitadze before he’s set to hit free agency. This is good news for New York since they’ll most likely lose backup center Isaiah Hartenstein this offseason if he’s not moved before the upcoming trade deadline. He could easily slot in as the starter for the remainder of the season and could be the perfect backup to Mitchell Robinson when he returns from injury next season.