NBA: Celtics reportedly make offer for Nate Robinson; Knicks guard can veto deal
By Al Iannazzone
The Record (Hackensack N.J.)
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Nate Robinson didn’t want to talk about reports that the Celtics made the Knicks an offer for the explosive guard.
“I just want to talk about Friday,” Robinson said after practice Wednesday. “If you want to talk about Friday, we can do that. Anything else, I have nothing to say.”
OK, Nate. Do you expect to be here Friday to play Kobe Bryant and the Lakers?
“Let’s talk about Friday,” said Robinson, who can veto any trade. “We got to stop Kobe from trying to score 61. That’s the deal.”
That ended any talk about a trade, as reported by the New York Daily News, but it probably won’t stop Robinson’s name from appearing in discussions.
Robinson has an expiring contract, and if the Knicks can package him with Jared Jeffries, whose deal runs through the 2010-11 season, they probably would do it. But there are some caveats.
The Knicks don’t want to take back any contracts that run past this season and they want to make the playoffs. In other words, they won’t just give away Robinson or Jeffries, whose versatility makes him valuable to the Knicks and perhaps other teams.
“It’s got to make us better this year, assuming that it doesn’t have cap ramifications the following year,” team president Donnie Walsh said.
“I don’t want to be talking in the vein of Nate, but yeah. That’s my job. I’m listening, and will listen to anything anybody has to offer. If it’s something that will help us we’ll do it.”
Earlier this season, Robinson was fined $25,000 for his agent, Aaron Goodwin, publicly requesting a trade during his client’s 14-game benching. But Robinson never said he wanted to leave and Walsh said the player never expressed a desire to be moved.
Robinson has helped his standing with the Knicks and around the league with the way he’s handled being in and out of coach Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse.
Since rejoining the rotation, Robinson has averaged 15.9 points. He helped the Knicks beat the Pistons on Monday with 27 points and also played fourth-quarter minutes at point guard for the struggling Chris Duhon.
“I think that a guy when he adjusts his game to the team, I think it does change your view of him,” Walsh said.
“I think Nate’s really trying to do the right thing on the floor. It’s obvious he’s helping us. When he gets it going, he really helps us. He’s cut down on some of the things that detract from that, so I like the way he’s playing.”