Nate Robinson would be open to returning to Knicks in free agency

9 Comments

Nate Robinson put together a stellar postseason run that kept the Bulls scratching and clawing to the very end in the second round of the playoffs, despite suffering a rash of injuries to several key players.

It was excellent timing for Robinson, considering the fact that he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

There will be plenty of options for Robinson to choose from, and it isn’t clear if his former Knicks team would be one of them. The point guard spent his first four-plus NBA seasons in New York, and wouldn’t rule out a return to play in front of the Madison Square Garden faithful once again.

From Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York:

Nate Robinson, who will be an unrestricted free agent come July 1, would be open to returning to the Knicks, according to his agent, Aaron Goodwin.

“Nate’s first thought would be to remain with the Bulls, but if the Knicks’ opportunity presented itself, I am sure he would appreciate an opportunity to play in New York again,” he told ESPNNewYork.com.

This is only really of interest because Robinson began his career in New York — obviously, no free agent in their right mind would rule out playing for any team that came up with the right dollar figure for the right number of years on a new contract. But let’s explore it nonetheless.

It’s highly unlikely that Robinson will return to the Bulls next season, for the very same reasons the team was considering waiving him and his non-guaranteed contract in the middle of this one.

With a healthy Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich, not only are there few minutes available for Robinson in the rotation, but his high-octane style of play was something that was forced upon head coach Tom Thibodeau out of necessity, not out of preference.

As for the Knicks, they’re a team that could certainly benefit from a guard like Robinson who is able to get into the paint at will in order to create shots for himself or his teammates. New York’s offense stagnated at times during the postseason once the shooting percentages from the outside fell below their regular season levels, and J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony are both more effective when they’re getting clean looks after there has been a good amount of ball movement in the team’s half-court sets.

It’s a nice idea, and Robinson could be a fit back in New York in theory. But the thought of Robinson and Smith on the same team, let alone on the court at the same time might be too much for Mike Woodson, or any sane head coach to be willing to sign up for.

Josh Jackson’s first pitch is… just a bit outside

Associated Press
2 Comments

Josh Jackson is not going Bo Jackson on us and playing baseball in the offseason.

The highly-rated forward out of Kansas who was the No. 4 pick of the Phoenix Suns was invited to throw out the first pitch before Friday night’s Diamondbacks game.

To quote Bob Uecker, he was just a bit outside. He tried the corner and missed.

Lonzo Ball was able to make his first pitch, ergo, he will turn out to be a much better NBA player. Obviously, these skills correlate.

Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel Mavericks’ top off-season priority

2 Comments

This is a Mark Cuban owned team, you don’t think the Mavericks are going to make a serious run at a free agent come July 1? Pelicans’ point guard Jrue Holiday has long been known to be a target, but there will be others.

But keeping their new core together, including restricted free agent Nerlens Noel, is the top priority, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Rumors like this are out there in part from Dallas to hope to chill the market for Noel. While he could be a defensive force who provides some scoring around the rim, with Noel’s injury history they may be able to get him at less than max money — because if he’s at the max the Mavericks are flirting with the luxury tax (and Cuban isn’t going to want to pay the tax for a borderline playoff team at best).

What Dallas fears is what Brooklyn did last season to Allen Crabbe in Portland and Tyler Johnson in Miami — some team to come in with a max or near-max offer sheet that drives up the price. Dallas will match, they will keep the young core together, it just gets more expensive.

Next season in Dallas will be a deserved big farewell to Dirk Nowitzki. He will be the focus, but behind him Dallas will try to be building for the future. They made the trade deadline move to make sure Noel is a part of that, the only question now is how much it costs them.

Magic Johnson on drafting Lonzo Ball: “what I needed was a leader”

6 Comments

Nobody, not even his critics with the Lakers, question that D'Angelo Russell had talent. What they questioned from the start was his work ethic and maturity. I was told by sources with the team he often was the last one to team meetings, often one of the first out of the gym, and the whole Nick Young thing spoke to the maturity question. Byron Scott took a lot of heat as Lakers’ coach for benching him, and Scott’s communication skills were lacking, but he had reasons. Russell also just 21 and maybe he finds his way, but the Lakers weren’t willing to wait anymore.

Which is why the Lakers were willing to move him to Brooklyn in the Brook Lopez trade, and why the Lakers went after Lonzo Ball in the draft, Magic Johnson said, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

Is Lonzo Ball a leader? Only time will tell, he has the potential.

Will players want to play with him? Yes, if the passing skills he showed in college transfer to the NBA. If guys know they will get the rock if they run/cut, then they will do just that. It’s some simple B. F. Skinner stuff here — if players are rewarded they will keep doing it. Get them the rock in transition and they will get out there every time.

Ball has flaws in his game, there are certainly questions about his defense, and how that awkward shot translates remains to be seen (it goes in but his time to get it off will decrease at the NBA level)? Will he be a scoring threat in the half-court? He’s got work to do. But answer those questions and the Lakers may have the key piece to help anchor a franchise he’s been looking for.

Sacramento Kings waive guard Arron Afflalo

1 Comment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento Kings have waived guard Arron Afflalo one year after signing him as a free agent.

The Kings cut ties with Afflalo on Friday before his entire $12.5 million contract for 2017-18 would become guaranteed. Afflalo will get $1.5 million instead.

Afflalo averaged 8.4 points and 2 rebounds in 61 games this past season for Sacramento. He has averaged 11.3 points per game in his 10-year career.