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REPORT: Nerlens Noel will compete with Mitchell Robinson for starting job

Center battle!

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

When the Knicks re-signed veteran center Nerlens Noel to a three-year, $27.7 million contract in the offseason, many fans wondered about his potential spot in the starting lineup. Sure, only the first two of those three years are guaranteed, but that is still pretty big money for a backup center. Noel started much of last season due to injuries to the incumbent, Mitchell Robinson, but he also lost his starting job to Taj Gibson (who is also returning) during the playoffs. How will the center minutes shake out next season?

We don’t know yet...and the Knicks probably don’t, either, according to a report from USA Today’s Michael Scotto.

In bringing Nerlens Noel back, I was told Nerlens wasn’t promised the starting center spot, but he’ll have a chance to compete for it, and he’ll definitely play meaningful minutes in New York’s rotation.

That sounds eminently fair. I would personally go with Mitch at the starting 5, since he offers more upside than Noel, but Mitch better come to camp ready to compete. And by all reports, Mitch has had an excellent summer of training.

Honestly, I don’t see it being a problem, no matter who starts. These Knicks—finally!—are a team of absolute professionals. Derrick Rose really set the tone for this last season, never complaining about spending most of the season stuck behind Elfrid Payton. If the former MVP can come off the bench, how can anyone else whine about their spot?

As for Noel, he’s still locked in his blood feud with mega-agent Rich Paul. He’s even targeting Rich Paul toady Kendrick Perkins on social media. It’s very enjoyable!

Can’t wait for training camp to start, though.