Nate Robinson not expected back with Bulls — source
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org June 28, 2013 12:18PM
Chicago Bulls guard Nate Robinson is shown during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball playoff series in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Updated: June 28, 2013 6:44PM
It’s a nice thought from Gar Forman and the Bulls, but business isn’t always nice.
While the general manager indicated on Thursday night that the organization would like to bring back the likes of free agents-to-be Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed there’s a good chance that only Mohammed is returning.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Robinson and his camp have already made it clear with the Bulls that the two sides will part ways, as Robinson seeks a multi-year contract. Even if that contract isn’t made available to the point guard, a one-year deal with a team that will give him extended playing time is next on his wish list.
Two requests that the Bulls cannot grant.
Technically, the Bulls can’t start talking with agents until July 1, but it was made clear to Robinson on the day after the playoffs ended for him and his teammates, that with Derrick Rose expected to be up-and-running, as well as having Kirk Hinrich and Marquis Teague as backups, Robinson could see time at either guard position, but would be more of an insurance policy than leaned on for heavy minutes like he was this past season with Rose sidelined.
Robinson knows that his value might never be higher coming off a season like he had, and silencing critics that he wasn’t the most coachable player in the league. You put a year in under coach Tom Thibodeau, and stay mostly dog-house free, that’s an accomplishment.
On the other hand, Belinelli would like to return, but would likely have to give the Bulls a discount in order to do. The market is expected to price Belinelli out of Chicago.
“Some will depend on what the market is, and they’ve got to get a feel from that, we’ve got to get a feel from that,’’ Forman said of those players returning. “But we certainly want to bring back some of the guys that we had last year if it’s the right fit as far as both sides are concerned.’’
With the Bulls focusing on outside shooters Tony Snell and Erik Murphy in Thursday’s NBA Draft, they still didn’t address the hole behind center Joakim Noah. Taj Gibson showed that he can come off the bench and play center in certain matchups, but he’s still a power forward.
Mohammed is cheap, knows the system, and played well the last six weeks of the season.
The only way that free-agent mindset changes for the Bulls is if they are able to unload the last year of Luol Deng’s $14.3 million contract, but that doesn’t sound like a priority. Not for a team that feels it can challenge next season with all the parts returning and healthy.
“Luol is a big piece of what we’re doing, he’s been a big piece of the success we’ve had the last couple of years, and he’ll continue to be a big piece of what we’re doing moving forward,’’ Forman sad.