UPDATE 4:44 pm: And the deal is apparently done — Nate Robinson has signed on with the Denver Nuggets.
Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports reports it is a two-year deal for the bi-annual exception, meaning it is two years at $4 million total. This was confirmed by Sam Amick of the USA Today.
This is a good pickup for the Nuggets — a real value deal at $2 million a year. Robinson will bring scoring off the bench and energy. He’s not going to make the Nuggets contenders, he not consistent, he has some real off nights and his defense isn’t great (he gambles too much). But he will impact the game when he comes in and will win the Nuggets a few next season when he has a night where the fearless guard cannot miss. He was one of the best free agents left on the market and the Nuggets got him at below market value.
3:54 pm: It’s easy to see how Nate Robinson’s fearless shooting off the bench would fit in with the Denver Nuggets. They are up-tempo, they can pressure and gamble on defense, they will take any open shot and a few that aren’t.
Robinson had Denver in the mix of teams he as considered.
Apparently that has been going well, tweets Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
Nate Robinson is the kind of player you enjoy watching on somebody else’s’ team, and he averaged 13.1 points a game and shot 40 percent from three for the Bulls last season. He will put up points and often in bunches and fans love him for it and ask him to sign their babies. But his weaknesses (particularly defensively) will drive knowledgeable fans crazy over time. They did Tom Thibodeau.
That said, Denver is about as good a fit as you can find. Robinson off the bench also would give the Nuggets the cushion to look more closely at trading Andre Miller (if they can find a deal that suits them) because they have someone that can soak up some of those minutes. Not as well, but he can soak them up.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.