After a rather successful and surprising season with the Chicago Bulls, Nate Robinson will move on to yet another team (his sixth of his NBA career), with the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors all showing a serious interest.
The issue is going to be money. Robinson did average 13.1 points and 4.4 assists per game for the Bulls as a player who got to play a lot more and a lot better than anyone expected, including some big performances in the postseason. Yet his defense, which has always hindered his career to a certain extent, is even more of a problem on a team like the Chicago Bulls, who lives & dies on their defensive ability.
Robinson, due to his previous season, is looking for a deal that will give him more than the veteran’s minimum. He made $1.1 million last season with the Bulls, and has already been approached by his first NBA team, the New York Knicks, regarding a potential return. The problem? Money.
Despite having three teams chasing him, Robinson isn’t likely to get the deal he wants. The Nuggets can offer him more money than the Knicks, but they’re loaded in the backcourt, and wouldn’t spend money on a kind of player they already have. Robinson is an offensive asset to have coming off the bench, but there are too many holes in his game to allow him to do much more.
The Knicks can’t offer anything more than a minimum deal, and for now, Robinson has turned them down. The Toronto Raptors, looking for someone to backup Kyle Lowry (they have Lowry and three more shooting guards). The Raptors have already used their mid-level exception on Tyler Hansbrough can’t offer more than a minimum deal as well.
This isn’t just an testament to what teams think of Robinson as a defender. The free agency market has changed due to the new CBA, and after all the big names come off the board quickly, there’s not a lot of money left for players who fill roster spots, even if these are proven veterans coming off a double-digit scoring season like Robinson.