Chicago Bulls prep for New York Knicks, consider waiving Nate Robinson?

The Chicago Bulls took down the Knicks last time they played, but that was in Chicago and with Carmelo Anthony sitting on the bench. The rematch comes with a healthy Melo at Madison Square Garden where the Knicks are 11-1 so far this season and shoot a blistering 40.7% from beyond the arc.

Can Chicago stop the Knicks shooting again?

The Knicks shot just 8/23 from beyond the arc in the last meeting. Was it due to the Bulls defense? An off night? Poor spacing without Carmelo? Some combination of the above? Whatever the reason, the Bulls will need a similar effort tonight to stay in the game.

Overall, the Bulls held the Knicks to just 85 points on 37% from the field. With Carmelo back, the Knicks are highly unlikely to shoot that poorly tonight, but keeping any eye on the three point line to keep the three point shots under 40% should still be a goal.

Matching up?

Carmelo presents a difficult challenge for the Bulls on offense, especially given that the Knicks start him at PF. Clearly the Bulls can't afford to put Boozer on Melo. The likely solution is to put Joakim Noah on Carmelo and Carlos Boozer on Tyson Chandler and let the perimeter players defend each other.

Another possible solution is to switch Deng on to Melo and let Boozer "guard" Ronnie Brewer by just giving him mid range shots and looking to stop back door cuts. Chicago could also try something more radical like starting in a zone or man-zone, but the Knicks shooting seems likely to bust up a zone quickly.

The other alternative would be for Chicago to go small to match up against the Knicks and just put Deng at PF. They won't start the game that way, but I'll be surprised if it doesn't end that way. At the end of the game I like Chicago going with whomever is having the better game between Nate/Hinrich at PG, Belinelli, Butler, Deng, and Noah.

Playing big?

Where the Bulls may swing a huge advantage is if the tandem of Boozer and Noah can own the paint. They have a huge strength/size advantage on whomever Carmelo Anthony defends. If the Bulls can take advantage of that and own the glass as well as dominate in terms of inside scoring then they may force the Knicks to adjust instead.

Typically when you have a mismatch of players in terms of size/athleticism, I'll always put my money on the superstar. Thus Carmelo will have an easier time exploiting his mismatch than Boozer/Noah will his, but if the Bulls can swing it in their favor then they can force the Knicks out of their comfort zone and force them to take some of their shooters out of the game to help defend the paint.

This is where Tyson Chandler has been such a revelation for New York. His strong play has allowed them to get away with playing small.

Bulls considering waiving Nate Robinson?

K.C. Johnson wrote earlier that the Bulls would consider waiving Nate Robinson due to his non-guaranteed contract. The thought would be they could save money on the luxury tax by doing this and possibly get under it if they can find another trade to lose Rip Hamilton.

However, waiving Robinson doesn't get the Bulls close to getting under the tax and trading Hamilton and waiving Nate leaves the team considerably weaker even when Derrick Rose is back, plus moving Hamilton for nothing would be enough to get under the tax without having to waive Nate.

If the Bulls did waive him, it would be the ultimate in cheap moves. Others have noted that the Bulls are at the roster minimum now, so waiving Nate wouldn't save them any money anyway, but the league allows you to drop to 12 players for up to two weeks. Combine that with cheap 10 day contracts and string it out over the season and Chicago could come still save the majority of the extra money they'd pay Nate.

Still that extra money like amounts to $1 million total counting the luxury tax penalty. In NBA terms, that's nothing, especially given how much Nate has contributed on the floor. The other thought behind waiving Nate is that it would force Marquis Teague into a role, but that's a dangerous game for several reasons.

If Thibodeau wanted to play Teague or felt it best to play Teague than he'd play Teague. It can't be good for the relationship between management and coaching staff if management is passive aggressively waiving players to force the coach's hand rather than having a conversation with the coach about developing a player they like.

Also, with Rose coming back relatively soon, any developmental minutes for Teague are likely out the window anyway as Hinrich will simply pick up all the slack at back up PG.

The argument could also be made that someone will be unhappy in the locker room once Rose returns as there will be a whole bunch of minutes taken away from existing players somewhere. Waiving one of those guys may help reduce that locker room challenge, but the Bulls are better off having guys adjust to their roles and continue to have more depth than to waive guys out of fear of locker room conflict.

Nate Robinson was brought in on a non guaranteed minimum deal, I think he probably knows the score and won't rock the boat since he may be looking for a similar contract next season with the Bulls or some other team.

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  • I don't see them waiving Nate. He has done a lot for the team so far. They will have a problem with playing time, though. Robinson or Hinrich could get more time at SG, but Robinson is so small and Hinrich isn't shooting well. Teague seems to have earned time, but it might not work out that way. The answer is probably that Hinrich's time should be cut. That hurts me to say because he has been a favorite player of mine for ten years, but he is just not producing. I hope he plays better when he is moved to the bench.
    Tough back-to-back for the Bulls. It will be interesting to see how they do. Even if they don't win, it should be interesting if they stay competitive with two of the best teams in the league.

  • Forgot to mention that when Hamilton gets back, there will be a jam at that possition too. It seems that they need to unload someone. 4 pgs and 3 sgs. Butler can play sf, but there won't be much time behind Deng. It would be nice if they could swing Hamilton, Robinson, or whoever for a reserve pf-c. I don't trust Boozer, Gibson, or Noah to play a full season. Someone will get hurt eventually.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    That would be a nice swap if possible.

  • I don't understand how the Bulls could seriously consider just cutting him. He compares very favorably to J.J. Barea who is making almost $20m over 4 years. The Bulls were very smart to pick him up and realize he is one of the better values on the roster. Probably leaked the story to help promote trade conversations with other teams.

  • In reply to deanruss:

    I don't really understand how leaking you're about to cut someone is suppose to promote trade conversations.

    'Hey, we're gonna cut this cheap productive guy...would you like to give us a draft pick for someone you could get for free?'

  • If the Bulls do indeed waive Nate it just sums up what most Bulls fans think about the Bulls incompetent F O anyway, and that is Dumb Ass management always find a way to make Dumb Ass moves. DAMN!!! JUST CHEAP AND IT DON'T MAKE NO DAMN SENSE!!!

  • I think that KC wrote that story as a hypothetical due to the fact that Robinson's contract doesn't become guaranteed until January 10th.

    It is hard to believe that even the Bulls could be that cheap given the production that Nate has provided. Plus given the boring mopey nature of most of the guys on this team, Nate has probably been a good addition to the locker room.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yeah, it doesn't even really make too much sense due to that reason because of the roster minimum though if we felt Rip and Rose would be back then we waived Nate to bring in a big man it might better balance the roster, but unlikely we get a better big than Mohammed whom we are already scared to play.

  • Nate is fun to watch and should be getting $4M/yr at a 1/4 of that giving us much needed 3 pt shooting, energy, excitement with his athletism, QB, being a vet etc. It is a crime to even talk about cutting him!!! It is a crime as well to give Rad more $ and a guaranteed contract for warming the bench. I much rather have Scal being the human victory cigar than that Rad stiff!

    With a healthy Rose after the All-Star break this season isn't a waste!

  • 1. Boozer+Vlad ...for... Humphries+Brooks+Teletovic

    Avery Johnson hates Humphries and They're not developing Brooks because Avery doesn't like young players. Stackhouse and Bogans are getting more minutes than him.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    (Forgot to finish...)

    2. Rip+Hinrich ...for... Dalembert+Daniels

    MIL really wants a vet backup SG, and they went hard after Hinrich (I know they're probably glad they didn't sign him now, but here's hoping Skiles still wants Hjnrich), and Dalembert is getting zero minutes with Sanders, Henson, Udoh, and Ersan.

    3. Jimmy Butler = Melo stopper

    At least that's what we are all hoping happens. You think Thibs will give Butler enough minutes to stop him?

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    Seems like most people talk about Rip's contract being dealt completely off the books.

    Isn't the more likely scenario that we trade Rip for, perhaps, someone's smaller deal (perhaps with a small non-guaranteed deal coming back as well)

    And then cutting Nate does make sense, because you dump him and the other non-guaranteed. Hence you've saved money and perhaps gotten a backup center out of the whole thing.

  • this shows the great disconnect between the fanbase and the bulls front office. The fans love nate because he is athletic and can score but management dislikes him because he is a knumbscull at times. The Bulls fans want scoring and some excitement while the front office wants good lockeroom guys that follow the partyline and doesn't upset the stiffs in management. I say just let things ride out this year, it makes little sense to get rid of him but understand if they don't bring him back next year. Kirk Bogans and crazy Nate can co-exist for the rest of the season.

    The Knicks look really sharp, its amazing how Carmelo has transformed himself into a sharp shooter from 3. He is shooting the 3ball at 45%..........the stereotype on him a few years back was he was an inefficient midrange chucker. This knicks team is playing very well at home and has enormous firepower......I'd just be happy if the Bulls can be respectable and give themselves a shot but they probably will get blown out tonight. Another thing I like about the Knicks is they do not turn the ball over and you add that to sharp shooting from 3 and you have a very efficient offense. The Bulls are going to need to have their A game when it comes to player and ball movement and avoid the brick shower and turnover parade if they want to give themselves a chance.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    The Bulls without Dereck Rose are blowing out the overated Knicks in the Garden. The lead now is 25 points. Did I hear a socalled Bulls fan say the following ....
    "This knicks team is playing very well at home and has enormous firepower......I'd just be happy if the Bulls can be respectable and give themselves a shot but they probably will get blown out tonight. Another thing I like about the Knicks is they do not turn the ball over and you add that to sharp shooting from 3 and you have a very efficient offense.."
    What a disgrace Defense-Rebound13, you are the same guy who was balling for the Bulls to trade Noah.
    By the way, your buddy Juiceboxjerry has gone into hiding. Can't find anything from him on this or the other bulls blog.

  • Bulls score 110 points, maybe the Mayans were right.

    Obviously the last quarter was extended garbage time but it's a bit scary how the Knicks closed the score up once Noah got thrown from the game. With no Asik to back him up any more I think Noah is more important to this team than Rose now.

  • Good game for Hinrich. Maybe he just had a hot hand tonight or whatever the case hopefully that will give him some confidence. I'm usually hard on Kirk but I will give credit where it's due. I only saw the 1st half but when I left the game it looked like Noah was on the verge of another triple double. And checking out the box score you can't help but notice Boozers measly 9 points and 7 boards for the guy that's hogging up all the teams cap space. But good win for the Bulls and hopefully they can continue this quiet winning streak.

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