A terrific post on the Times’ Off the Dribble blog yesterday pointed out the obvious problem with Nate Robinson’s demand for the Knicks to trade him: It doesn’t make any sense.
Larry Coon, an outstanding salary-cap expert, breaks it down:
[I]f Robinson wants out, he will need to be patient. He may need to accept a trade into another bad situation, or he might consider asking the Knicks for a buyout — something Walsh is not known for doing. His best move might be riding the pine for the rest of the season (who knows, he may even see some playing time now and then), and working with Walsh next summer to craft a sign-and-trade arrangement that helps them both get what they want.
Nate Robinson has to be frustrated. He was the fun little guy from the dunk contests, the most marketable fella on the Knicks roster, an instant offense … and every time he thinks he has the Knicks over a barrel, they call his bluff and point out that no one actually wants him on their team. This happened in the off-season, as well: Robinson kept assuming there would be all these offers for him, and when there weren’t, he took the only offer he had — from the Knicks. The Knicks were actually a little more generous than they needed to be, thanks to Robinson’s one-year deal.
At this point, it’s clear that Robinson doesn’t fit into what the Knicks are doing, and considering that shiny 6–3 mark without him, they have no particular need or desire to force him into the rotation. This is the point of one-year deals: If it doesn’t work, you can always say your fond good-byes when the season’s over. Robinson received a little more money than he would have gotten on the open market in the off-season, and that extra amount of money is making it more difficult to obtain the trade he obviously wants. Forgive us if we find it difficult to weep for him. The Knicks have a plan and they are sticking to it. That plan doesn’t involve Nate Robinson. He will make $4 million this season. Generally speaking, we do not think it’s fair when scenarios arise where fans criticize athletes for making too much money, considering how much more money owners are pocketing. We do not think this is one of those scenarios.
We love watching Nate play, but right now we love watching him on the bench more.