Keep Nate Robinson

The prevailing thought is that the Bulls won't keep four point guards on the roster next season, and they already have three of them under contract. Nate Robinson is the fourth, and on the surface, it doesn't look like there's much room for him on the roster next season.

You have to figure among the 144 minutes between PG, SG, and SF that Rose, Deng, and Butler will average 36+ a piece taking 108 total minutes. That leaves 36 minutes total left for Hinrich, Teague, and whatever other perimeter players are on the roster. Possibly a draft pick, possibly a minimum free agent signing, or perhaps someone at the mmle.

In an ideal world, that player is mostly a pure two, since the Bulls don't have a pure two on the roster. Jimmy Butler's more of a three, Kirk Hinrich and Teague are both ones. Nate Robinson doesn't exactly fit that bill either, given his size. However, Nate brings the skills the Bulls desperately need at the SG position.

He's their Jason Terry.

What we've seen with this Bulls team is that they've lacked creators and scorers. They've had enough defense to hang in games with Miami, but when push comes to shove, they don't have the guys who can score against them consistently. Nate Robinson can be one of those guys, and while he's not the star powered second scorer we'd all want, he's the best scorer we can get.

Chicago doesn't have big money to throw around. They don't even have medium money to throw around. The most they can offer someone next season is the three million dollar mini-mid-level exception for three seasons. That might be enough to sign Robinson, and when it comes to scorers, it sure doesn't look likely to be enough to sign someone better.

Next season may be one of the Bulls best chances to win a title. Carlos Boozer isn't getting any better. Luol Deng is in the final year of his contract and may not return, and if he does, he's still on a downward trend. Joakim/Taj are probably as good as they're going to be, and players with torn ACLs generally have had shortened careers.

This Bulls team in two seasons could lose significant pieces without an obvious way to replace them.

There are several ways the Bulls could pull this off. They could see if they can trade Hinrich (expiring) for salary cap room. There are probably several teams who'd consider taking him given the short nature of his contract, and the Bulls would gain back a trade exception to use later. If that proves impossible, they could look to move Marquis Teague if they need to open a roster spot (though this would do little to save money).

Either way, we've complained for several seasons that Chicago lacks anyone to create/make big shots without Rose on the floor while noting that adding such a player seems difficult with the salary constraints at hand. Nate Robinson isn't the ideal answer, but he's a better answer than anything else we've seen in Chicago so far. A better answer than anything else likely to come for three million or less.

A better answer than Kirk Hinrich or Marquis Teague.

There are reasons to keep Teague or Hinrich over Robinson.

Maybe the Bulls evaluate Teague as a future starting caliber player, he has the quickness for it. He looks willing to learn,and when I spoke to him, he seemed like a good kid. However, his skill level is so far away right now. His shooting form suggests he'll never be a perimeter threat, and his finish at the rim is awful for a guy who can get there so easily.

Kirk Hinrich may be a better overall player than Nate. He gets guys involved, defends, has more size, and orchestrates the offense.

However, neither guy brings what the Bulls really need. What value is Hinrich as an orchestrator with Derrick Rose back controlling the ball for 80% of the game? How does Teague improve his game as a pure PG when he's backing up Rose for just a few minutes with Hinrich also on the roster?

If you're serious about winning, and you know you can't bring in another scorer through trade/free agency, you simply can't let Nate go. The Bulls need a guy to make shots. They need a guy who's a true three point shooter rather than the inconsistent Deng/Butler. They need a guy who can create something out of nothing.

Yes, they likely need someone who's better at it than Nate Robinson. Sure, they'd like that guy to come in a package that fits better alongside Derrick Rose. Absolutely, this isn't the ideal pairing.

However, it's as ideal as the Bulls are likely to get for three million. The question shouldn't be whether the Bulls offer Nate the MMLE, the question should be whether or not Nate would accept it.

Filed under: Free Agency


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  • After last year with Bulls management letting players walk for nothing, this is where the dislike for the FO comes in. Everyone knows other than Rose and now maybe Butler, this team has no other player that can create his own shot and get to the rim. If there's no other player with these capabilities at the right price then Nate should absolutely be brought back at the mid level exception. Any person with any type of competitive drive after what Nate has done this past season and during the playoffs would bring Nate back if they are really serious about trying to win and beat Miami. Lets be serious here, the 2014 plan, i just don't see the Bulls attracting big name free agents. The FO is going to have to get creative and make some trades or deals in order to get Rose more help when it comes to being able to score when it matters. Nate is a scoring option even tho he can be a little bad at times and imo Belinelli should be brought back as well if no other players are available in free agency at the right price. This is not an option but a need that the Bulls need desperately as far as scorers and shot creators go. And I'll still say this is one of the reasons why Rose didn't return this year, he needs more scoring options to run with, he can't be the only go to after his injury. He's going to need help.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And Thibs said it best after the game 5 loss at his conference, he needs the right players for this Bulls team, for his system in order for this team to get better. If that wasn't a message to management i don't know what was. In order for the Bulls to win their going to have to spend and that includes paying the tax causs there just isn't a lot of talented players in todayz NBA.

  • Jackass Nick Friedell believes the bulls have no chance of beating the heat ever and is advocating a 2014 plan... way to pump up the team.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    It's not Nick Friedell's job to appease you or any other Bulls fan, and it's ridiculous for you to take a cheap shot at him for not pumping up the team. He is there to give his opinion. You should just respectfully disagree with him and move on.

  • In reply to RichG:

    what is this fella doing here?? doesn't he have his own team to worry about?

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Would you rather he lie and blow smoke up your ass just to make you feel good? Fact is this team as assembled will likely not beat the Heat in a seven game series.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I think it's pretty clear that weird stuff happens in the playoffs and the bulls have as good a chance as anybody to take advantage of a heat injury or slump... it can happen. Throwing out the next year entirely is a cop out and it's saying you might as well not even watch. Most importantly, it advocates another passive offseason for management and letting everyone walk for nothing in favor of the 2014 plan... or 2010 or 2000... yea, remember that?

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    With the position the bulls are in, you go for it every year. It's gonna be Rose, Noah, Butler and Thibodeau and anything else that happens will be luck for the next few years.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    I agree with you all I was saying is he shouldn't blast Nick Friedell for saying that they won't beat the Heat when it is in fact unlikely they will beat the Heat... Sure they COULD but the odds aren't in their favor.

    I think there is no 2014 plan and if there was it would be a stupid one anyway as their only target would probably be Loul Deng. I think this summer will be a lot like the last one we get marginally worse and stand pat yet again. All just to hope that the Bulls roster that is loaded with injury risk somehow is fully healthy and the Heats typically healthy roster is somehow riddled with injuries during the playoffs. That is the Bulls path to the title and it aint pretty or likely.

  • In reply to Chad:

    my point is Friedell is advocating a 2014 plan again, saying they should shed a bunch of salary and get a 2nd star to play with rose then. This has never, ever worked for the bulls, and even less with the present CBA. This thinking sets the table for getting "marginally worse" again. I believe there should be no more planning and waiting, the bulls have what they have and everybody know it's gonna take some luck to get to the next level.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    You forgot Taj, now that we've substantially overpaid him, he isn't going anywhere for the next 4 years

  • In reply to BigWay:

    We didn't overpay for Taj, we actually underpaid him.

    If he ever starts for this team, he will show you why he should have been starting over Boozer for 2 years now.

    Also, if Taj was ever traded and started for another team, the rest of the league will find out he was a bargain like Omer Asik is in HOU

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    So far, jackass Friedell has been right for 3 seasons now and you've been wrong for 3 seasons.

    I'll take the unbiased opinion over the delusional homerism.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    What makes you think he's unbiased?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Common sense

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    I think people radically overestimate what we can do in 2014 when they talk about a 2014 plan. There's no one to chase in FA unless you want to hope LeBron, Wade, or Bosh would come here.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    yeah that's what im saying. From now till the near future the FO should be looking to go all in every year, not wait for some incredible opportunity which isn't gonna come around.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Well, there is always someone to chase, it just depends if it is the right guy or just some Bozo. However, it is starting to look like the Bulls will not have anywhere near full max money even if when they amnestitize the BozoHole and let Deng walk for nothing.

  • "the Bulls don't have a pure two on the roster. Jimmy Butler's more of a three..."

    I've never understood comments like this: what exactly is the difference between a 2 and a 3? Height and length? Are the responsibilities on the floor different? Why is Jimmy more 3 than 2?

  • In reply to Go Bullz:

    The shooting guard or off-guard (basically meaning “the other guard”) is the marksman of the team. He is usually the best shooter on the team and has the ability to knock down jumpers with consistency all over the court. Physically, a player that plays the 2 spot is usually lengthy and athletic.

    While the SG is busy knocking down jumpers, he has other things to do too!

    •Handle the ball well in order to create his own shots and play the role of the point guard at times
    •Move without the ball to get himself open into a position to receive a pass and score while also tiring out his defender from all that chasing as an added bonus

    The small forward is the most versatile of the 5 basketball positions. Since he is the 3 position, he’s like the middle child (that nobody pays attention to!.. kidding =/). His job is to score, rebound, pass, and defend well.

    Small forwards are typically taller and stronger than shooting guards, but smaller than power forwards. Many times, small forwards are extremely versatile in that they can slide down and play shooting guard or even play power forward in certain stretches of the game.


    As you can see from the descriptions Jimmy's skill set is really more of a SF. He is versitile, great defender and a decent shooter. Nate for instance is really more of a SG but he is too short to guard most 2's and so is cast as a PG. He is a shooter and ball handler which gives him the ability to create his own shot or setup the offense.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Eh...nowadays, they're just grouped together as 'wing players'. Generally whoever is taller is labeled the SF. It feels like half the league starts 'shooting guards' who can't shoot.

    Jalen Rose tells the story of why positions in the NBA we're created, and it was for the novices to pick up the game easier.

  • In reply to Go Bullz:

    Sorry my coding skills obviously suck and the bold went crazy....

  • In reply to Go Bullz:

    When I think of a two, I'd think of someone who has more ball handling and better shooting.

  • In reply to Go Bullz:

    Somehow, thinking that 2's and 3's are interchangable seems to have become par for the course. While a height and length play into it, there is more to it than that. Jimmy is a bit of a tweener, big 2, small 3.

    First and foremost you are who you can guard, and then who you can guard better. It seems to me that Jimmy is a slightly undersized 3 who guards 3's better than 2's, not that he doesn't guard 2's well.

    Secondly his offensive skills at this point appear to be better suited to being a 3 also.

    We can certainly live with, if not benefit from Jimmy playing either position, but the Bulls would be better suited long term if he settles in at the 3 and we obtained a scoring 2 guard, like a tall version of Nate.

  • I wonder what kind of offer Robinson will get? He's not perfect, but I have to agree with your points - he and Rose at the end of games would be a nice tandem.

    Doug, do the Bulls have the full MLE this summer, I can't remember if they officially used it on Kirk or not last summer?

  • In reply to Hoover:

    Yes they have the MMLE. I believe they had little cap space remaining and used it to sign Kirk.

    Regarding Nate's offer, I was on the side of he'll get nothing but the vet-min because everybody in the league knows what he is and what he's doing for us isn't anything different.

    Then at about 2/3 of the season, I had to change my mind because Nate was playing so well. I still don't think he'll get a huge offer but rather a deal in the MMLE range. And if that's the case, we'll see if the Bulls brass pony up.

  • In reply to Hoover:

    They have the Mini MLE most likely, and don't be shocked if they refuse to use it.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I think that they would use the full amount for one year, but not the full amount for a 2 or 3 year contract as that would reduce the cap space available for the 2014 plan.

    That is likely why the lose both Nate and Belli. I think that either or both might be had for 3 years and $9 million, but neither is likely to settle for another 1 year contract, even if it is for $3 million.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Nate might go for a 1 year contract if it's below market. If he gets a big offer for a lousy team he might take a slight 1 year pay cut to make another run with the Bulls.

    I don't think the Bulls would have much issue with giving Belinelli the mle for 2 years.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    If Nate doesn't get a multiple year deal after what he did this season, he's never going to get one.

    He will go after the multiple year deal, even if its a 2yr deal for the vet-min

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    My sense is that the Bulls will not spend any additional money for the 2014 season or beyond, trying to max out whatever cap room that they might have that summer. That basically is the 2014 plan, max out cap room and hope for the best, i.e. free agent, bring over Mirotic.

    I could actually see the Bulls forgoing the mini MLE even this upcoming season, since all of it will be in the second tier of the new tax, $5.25 million(1.75 times $3) for a total expenditure of $8.25 million for one year of Belli or Nate, if either were to agree. I really only see them spending that money for a really good bigman. Are there any of those willing to play for only $3 million on a one year deal.

  • I like the idea of playing Kirk and Nate robinson together.

    Derrick rose at 38 minutes at pg.
    Kurt gets the remaining 10 minutes.

    Butler plays 25 minutes at 2guard.
    Nate robinson plays 23 minutes at 2. He'll play 10 minutes with kirk, where kirk plays the pg, and he defends 2's. He'll play 13 minutes at the 2 where rose or nate defend the 2.

    Deng plays 48 minutes at SF, however, somehow Butler plays 10 minutes at back up 3 anyways.

    Boozer/taj/mystery 4/5.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    There is absolutely zero reason why Rose coming off ACL, Deng coming off everything he has going on + history of injuries , or Noah with his foot problems should be playing more than 35min next season.

    And now that we know Kirk can't play more than 30min or his body will break down, his minutes should be limited to a strictly backup PG role.

    Taj should finally see some minutes increase right? What the hell did you pay him for if you're going to continue playing 20min?

    Anyway, the minutes breakdown should be something like this (although starter minutes will probably be more favored):

    C. Noah 30min (Nazr 10min, Withey 0min)
    PF. Boozer 28min (Taj 28min, Malcolm 0min)
    SF. Deng 33min (Brewer 15min)
    SG. Butler 35min (Nate 16min)
    PG. Rose 30min (Hinrich 15min, Teague 0min)

  • Nate's going to get paid and he deserves it. Can the Bulls find the nate robinson magic one more time, this time in a two guard frame? Nick Young had a disappointing year in philly, he's a free agent and he could benefit playing one year under thibodeau. Look at how Nate Robinson blossomed under thibs, now he's a hot commodity and his phone will keep ring, maybe daryl morey again since he loves bulls players. Anyway, a one year deal of Nick Young to the Bulls helps both sides, he can up his stock and we can get "more shooting" help. Can the Bulls recapture some of that knucklehead magic they got with the nate robinson signing last year. There's bargains to be had and I hope the Bulls stay away from 40 year olds unless its the kobe bryant variety. Nick Young has alot of talent and his career would take off if he spent some time with the Bulls. He would be great next to Rose.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I'm open to the vet-min for almost anybody, but the Bulls need a shit creator. We found it in Nate and now we're just going to trash him and go back to 'needing a 2nd shot creator'?

    If Nate is going to cost more than the MMLE, fine, but if that's all he costs, the Bulls can't let him go...unless they go back to their cheap ways again.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Boozer is our shit creator. He's the most prolific shit creator we have.

  • In reply to Big Jerry:


  • In reply to Big Jerry:

    I'm just going to enjoy that one without adding any embellishment.

  • The thing about Marquis Teague, is that he sucks. That being said, I was not a huge Jimmy Butler fan last year. I thought his shot was deplorable, ability to create offense was a joke and it didn't seem like his basketball IQ was very high. But he did play defense and listened to coach. I figured he'd be a goon we kept on the end of our bench for the next 2 seasons until we unloaded him. But then I heard he had put in a lot of time over the summer, I read about the intense struggles he overcame growing up, I read reports that he had dominated summer league, and I saw someone with a very strong character shine through this season. Its not fair to ignore the physical gifts he possess, and while Teague is very fast, he does not have strength and size to go along with that speed. He also doesn't seem to be dedicated on the defensive end and instead of getting fired up after he makes mistakes on the floor, he looks more disappointed. His mistakes seem to be made out of more laziness then youthful ignorance. He has a brother in the league who may be whispering sweet nothings in his ear about other teams that are more lax. When I think of Marquis Teague, I think James Johnson. I think a poor mans Jamal Crawford. Given Butler's background, athletic gifts and where we picked him up in the draft, he should be viewed as an anomaly. Thibs is awesome, and his system is very college like. When you play the bulls you don't play against particular players, you play against a system. But we can't expect that system to overcome the business of the NBA and the complacency that settles in when you're making millions of dollars to play a game. I maybe I shouldn't doubt that Thibs could produce another Butler, but I don't think it will be Marquis Teague.

  • In reply to Villageworker2:

    Teague reminds me of Tyrus Thomas; minus inches of height and replacing vertical with quickness.

  • I'd be more worried about keeping Bellinelli than Nate Robinson. It seems like we go through this every year. "OMG We'll score like 64 pts a game without BG!!1.1!!" "What will the bulls do without JL3?!/?" C'mon. There are plenty of guys who can do what Nate did for this team. Dedicating a whole blog post to keeping Nate is silly and advocating for him over Hinrich or Teague is ludicrous.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Nate robinson is 20 times better than JL3 (athletically, in terms of irrational confidence, ball handling, and yes, even defense). JL3 probably won the bulls 1 or 2 games last year, Nate pulled out 10-15 (including playoffs).

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    If there are 'plenty' of shot creators who can light it up like Nate around, you should list them so we know and then send that list to GarPax because they can't seem to find them (other than Nate).

    Good job with the strawman though, somebody out there must have been screaming to re-sign JL3 no matter what.

    And for the record, I would keep Nate before Marco, Kirk, AND Teague.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    And with Marco, the Bulks could re-sign him too if they want (and his marks doesn't blow up).

    He made $1.96mil this year. We can pay him 120% of that, which ends up being $2.35mil. Will Marco get more than that? Maybe, but I don't think so.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    If we could trade Hinrich for nothing and keep Nate/Marco for Hinrich's money, we'd do pretty well for ourselves IMO.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Interesting that your still so down on Hinrich, when our win percentage was about 67% with Hinrich and 33% without him.

    Theoretically, I agree with you, especially with Rose returning, but Hinrich just seems to mean more to the team than his numbers indicate.

    I'd love to keep them both and bring back Asik and Korver while we are at it. Can we trade Deng for Aisk and Korver even though they are on seperate teams.

    By the way, who wouldn't trade Deng for Asik these days, certainly a better deal than Asik for Courtney Lee or Sam Young, or Nick Young or Neil Young for that matter.

    ooops, I almost forgot, we are not allowed to bring up Asik anymore.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Kirk is nothing but an average PG.

    Replace him with another PG and or record probably ends up the same. His replacement probably won't be the good defensive player that Kirk is, but his replacement will stay healthy and out produce Kirk on the offense end, so that makes up for that lack of defense.

    And finally, average Kirk = $4mil...average replacement = vet min

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Marco is a completely unrestricted free agent, there is no 120% rule, we can pay him whatever we can pay any free agent, the max being the MLE or $3 million for the upcoming season. Or we can split that money among 2 players, which is barely more than the veterans minimum. That is probably how you calculated that we underpaid Taj.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    I don't think anyone ever thought we'd be missing any thing without JL3.

  • My favourite starter roster for 2014 :

    Rose - Robinson - Butler - Boozer - Noah

    2014 Champions!

  • Trade Teague and our draft pick to move up in the draft. Gar Pax have proven nearly lights out in the draft, even in the teens and twenties. Teague's not what the Bulls need now, as Hinrich is better at the back up point, and he's not tall enough to play strong D.

    As the third point, Nate's our version of the Microwave. Leave him in if he's hot, and take him out if he's not. On a stacked Bulls team that's still offensively challenged, I bet he wins 3 to 4 extra games in the regular season and 2 more in a playoff run.

  • In reply to Gunga:

    Not a bad plan if someone wants Teague.

  • In reply to Gunga:

    If we could get Dario Saric or Georgiu Diengu, I'm in.

  • Keep Nate? You better believe it.

    Since he got here the comments about Nate have been about "good Nate/bad Nate". Even now I think a lot of people still believe that garbage. It's complete bs. Nate makes a lot of really intelligent plays out there vs the occasional mistake that every NBA player experiences but how many of his errors have cost the Bulls games?

    The numbers say it all. Regular season he averaged 13 pts a game in 25 minutes. When you play him those same 25 minutes as backup PG/SG with the bonus gift of 25 ppg from Derrick Rose on top of it this team is gonna kill it. He shot over 40% from 3. That's Kyle Korver territory ladies and gentlemen. "Bad Nate"? He averaged 1.8 turnovers a game to Kirk's 1.7 (that's 2.5 and 2.0 per 36). He put up a PER above 17 to Kirk's 10. And he did something essential to evaluate a player's value to winning a championship - he performed in the playoffs. When you put "Good Nate" and "Bad Nate" together what you come up with is probably the Bulls 2nd best player this season after Joakim Noah.

    "Bad Nate" is a myth. He's a pure shooter with no conscience which is exactly what this team needs without being a selfish dumbass or a locker room cancer like a JR Smith or Andre Blatche or something so let's quit talking about him like he is. I don't want to hear anymore about "Good Nate/Bad Nate" unless we're going to talk bout "Good Kirk/Bad Kirk" or maybe more because Nate's a shooter "Good Korver/Bad Korver". It's "Amazing Nate" from here on out or I'm just not listening.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Interesting point, we certainly never hear about good BozoHole v bad BozoHole. maybe that should be disgustingly putridly atrocious BozoHole.

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    Just wondering how you fell about the potential for signing Ben Gordon as a NR type scorer. I believe he's unrestricted, and I imagine after his disaster with the Pistons he could be had for a heck of a lot less than the $ he wanted the first time around.

  • In reply to bnquick74:

    you gotta have a ton of faith in Thibodeau to believe that he can make Gordon play hard and smart on both sides of the ball. That said, I have a ton of faith in him.

  • In reply to bnquick74:

    He has a player option for $12mil.

    He's not opting out. My guess is we COULD get him if we trade Boozer for him though.

  • Where is Gordon cashing his bad attitude and paychecks these days, Charlotte, I think.

    I doubt that MJ is picking up the extra year @ $16.8 million on bozo's contract unless of course we are willing to give him back his #1 pick from the Thomas trade, then he might just do it. W'ed probably have to give him $3 million to make up for the difference in this years contracts.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    agree, gordon is not coming back. what i found interesting was thibodeau saying point blank 'we need more shooting'. I wonder if the Bulls can make a move for JJ Reddick, somebody they liked alot in the past. He said he's not returning to the Bucks and he fits next to Rose in having a pure shooter. His contract demands are probably out there so we're stuck with hinrich as the backup two guard. Those Boozer and Deng contracts along with the midlevel hinrich is getting is killing the Bulls cap. Noah's contract is good value and Gibson is on shakey ground if he continues to rebound like Amare Stoudemire. Bulls have serious needs in scoring, 3pt shooting and a defensive 7 ft center backup.

  • Trade Hinrich for a second round pick this, or next season and use that money to re-sign Nate. The reality is, Nate is a better back up PG than Hinrich. With Rose coming back, we don't need Hinrich. We ONLY got Hinrich because Rose went down, so with that spot filled with the return of Rose, we're good. But we can still use Nate's scoring off the bench which Hinrich would not provide. If we cannot trade Hinrich, I say we use Rip's $ along with that of Mohammed and Radmonovich and re-sign Nate and fill the roster with Malcolm Thomas type of contracts and guys who won't play much anyway. And, draft a center in the first-round.

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