SALT LAKE CITY — Surging center Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks’ longest-tenured player, sounded noncommittal when asked whether he will be in New York long term.
With the trade deadline Thursday, Robinson doesn’t have his contract extension and is slated to be an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Knicks still can get an extension done after the deadline and can go as high as four years, $50 million.
This summer, other teams with cap space can compete with the Knicks for Robinson but the Knicks can go over the salary cap to re-sign him. And Robinson is finally playing well enough to merit a club outbidding them.
The 23-year-old, 7-foot shot-blocking center from Louisiana gave no indication negotiations are taking place on an extension.
“Whatever happens, happens,’’ Robinson said before facing the Rudy Gobert-less Jazz on Monday. “Really, I mean, I’m just here to play basketball. That’s the main thing. It’s still in the season. You’re not worried about the offseason or the break.’’
After drafting Robinson in the second round in 2017, the Knicks signed him to a team-friendly four-year, $5.8 million deal.
Robinson likely is going to want to get paid bigger bucks now. It is why he has gone through five agents before settling last season on the renowned Wasserman Agency, repped by Thad Foucher and Joe Smith.
Robinson, who missed much of last season with a broken hand and foot, claimed an extension is not on his mind.
“I’m just going to continue to play hard, see what happens,’’ Robinson said when asked again whether he wants to be here next season. “I don’t think about it that much. I just want to hoop. That’s what I’ve got an agent for. He handles that so I can focus on basketball.
“We talk here and there,’’ Robinson said of his agent. “He’s going to handle that for me. I trust him. You all can talk to him if you want. I’m just here to play basketball.’’
Robinson pinned his relatively slow start to not being in top condition, saying he missed all of preseason and hadn’t played since last March. Now he’s become a beast on the offensive glass and his shooting percentage is a league-best 78.3 percent, even if he still doesn’t take jump shots.
Robinson is coming off a game last week versus Memphis when he logged 14 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks — a nationally televised performance that could increase his trade value.
The Pistons, according to SNY, have shown a “degree of interest.” That’s not surprising since former Knicks executive Harold Ellis, who pushed for the Robinson pick, is on the Detroit staff.
The Post has previously reported Robinson has told confidants Dallas and New Orleans would be appealing destinations if he’s not a Knick.
The Knicks are likelier to ship out center Nerlens Noel, re-signed in the offseason to a three-year, $30 million deal as insurance for Robinson. Noel has endured a disastrous, injury-riddled campaign.
Trading Robinson in a package for a superstar makes sense but other than that, it would be wise to stick with him and help any playoff push.
Robinson avoided the injured Gobert on Monday, but will get the powerhouse superstar center Nikola Jokic on Tuesday night in Denver. Robinson bulked up in the offseason to make matchups like one with Jokic easier.
“It’s more of a challenge,’’ Robinson said. “It’s one thing I like to do is take challenges. Jokic likes to shoot 3s and has great touch and can pass like crazy. That’s going to be pretty fun to guard because now I’m in more condition. So we’ll see how it goes.’’
Thibodeau has become a fan of Robinson because he values rebounding and rim protection. Robinson’s basketball IQ still needs work.
“He’s gotten more and more comfortable,’’ Thibodeau said. “I think anticipation, length, size, athleticism, a combination of all those things. And I think as he continues to develop — he’s still raw. I think the conditioning aspect, this summer will be huge for him. He’s very gifted. I think he’s learned a lot over the last couple of years. I think he knows his opponents a lot better and [he is] a lot stronger than he was three years ago, when he came into the league.”