The good news is that Nate Robinson can come in and play the John Lucas role better than John Lucas in my opinion. He's cut in a similar mold (shoot, score, handle, ball hog, undersized) but plays with more strength and athleticism while historically being more of a locker room pain in the ass [though to be fair, I haven't heard anything in that regard recently, I also haven't paid much attention].
The downside, of course, is this signals that the Bulls don't believe Marquis Teague is ready to have any role whatsoever on this team to start off with. That's probably the safer decision, but if the Bulls viewed this as somewhat of a lost year then developing Teague would have been an excellent plan.
Bringing in Robinson means Teague, even with Rose out, will likely struggle to get off the bench without an injury. That said, the Bulls likely needed to start three deep at PG to start the season given Hinrich's health and Teague's poor summer league play. It's the right move to make in order to win games off the bat and mandatory to cover any possible injuries otherwise they'd be looking at an emergency D-League call up the instant Teague or Hinrich were hurt in the regular season.
One concern is that historically Robinson plays best when he can enter into shot jacking mode in an open offense. His best numbers were for Golden State and the Knicks while he struggled to find a niche for both the Celtics and Thunder. Thibodeau did coach Nate for a partial season while an assistant in Boston, so I'm sure he was consulted on both Robinson's attitude and what he can bring to the table.
All in all, I like the signing of Robinson as a 4th point guard on the roster. However, the move, if completed, may signal the end of the Bulls pursuit of summer league standout Malcom Thomas. Chicago would have a hard cap set at 74.3 million dollars and after news hit that Kirk Hinrich will be making closer to 3.8-3.9 million this season, the Bulls may not have room under that hard cap for a veteran minimum contract.
Personally, I'm more than content to add Robinson ahead of Thomas anyway. Derrick Byars, Lonnie Baxter, Eddie Basden, and a host of others have stood out in summer league for Chicago to go on and do nothing noteworthy whatsoever in the NBA. In short, summer league is perhaps one of the most meaningless evaluation tools for NBA talent available. Most of the players are playing purely to rack up stats in order to land an NBA or overseas gig creating a complete lack of useful structure.
I liked what I saw from Thomas, but Robinson's a career 15 PER type player while filling a specific niche the Bulls need filled. It's possible the Bulls wills till have room for Thomas [or another player] as well as not all of the official contract numbers are out, and Chicago is sitting right on the edge of whether they could fit him in or not.