Buyout, not trade, only way Nate Robinson escapes New York Knicks
Yesterday, Nate Robinson, through his agent, asked the New York Knicks for a trade. His request was understandable: the 2009 Slam Dunk Champion is out of Coach Mike D’Antoni’s rotation and needs to play to get offers on the free agent market when his contract expires in July. This is precisely the reason the Knicks will be reluctant to deal him …
Breaking NBA news mixed with analysis …
A team spokesman says the request was made Saturday and that team president Donnie Walsh will have discussions with Robinson’s agent, Aaron Goodwin." (Associated Press found on ESPN)
My Quick Analysis: His value is on the books, not on court.
Yesterday, Nate Robinson, through his agent, asked the New York Knicks for a trade. His request was understandable: the 2009 Slam Dunk champion is out of Coach Mike D’Antoni’s rotation and must play to get offers on the free agent market when his contract expires in July.
This, however, is precisely the reason the Knicks won’t deal him.
For two seasons, the organization has been cutting salary and hoarding cap space in hopes of signing one or two prime-time talents when ‘The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010’ kicks off next summer.
Keeping Robinson and allowing his $4 million expiring contract to come off-the-books will provide more cap space for Madison Square Gardens to woo some combination of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.
Trading the energetic combo guard, while also preserving financial flexibility will be difficult. For instance, the Knicks will only take back a player in the final year of his deal, but – because of the coming free agent crop and declining economy – most teams are reluctant to move expiring contracts.
Fair or not, the NBA is very much aware of Robinson’s reputation and predicament. They know he’s somewhat of a wildcard on and off court. They also know he’s looking at the next few months as an audition for a long-term contract.
GMs will be always weary of adding a player with such a personal agenda. Remember, over the summer, there was little interest in Robinson, who was a restricted free agent and had no tangible offers except to re-up with New York.
A buyout could happen, though. The Knicks wouldn’t have to take back a contract and Robinson would get to pick his next team – most likely, with a pro-rated one year deal – before hitting the open market as an unrestricted free agent in July. Of course, this hinges on Robinson swallowing his pride and agreeing to discount a portion of his 2009-10 salary.
The sooner Robinson understands he’s nothing more than a cap number for the Knicks, the better. Hopefully, he then accepts that a buyout is the best way to salvage his season and, possibly, his career, too.