The New York Knicks have a need to fill at backup point guard, and former Knick Nate Robinson would be the best free agent fit for the position. The Knicks would not have the need for Robinson had Jason Kidd not retired, but the team will have to move on and acquire a player to fill his role on the roster.
ESPNNewYork.com's Jared Zwerling reports that Robinson would be open to a return to the Knicks, though there has yet to be any indication that the Knicks would be interested in a reunion.
Robinson began his career with the Knicks, playing four-and-a-half seasons there until a midseason trade to the Boston Celtics in 2010. Now an eight-year NBA vet, Robinson averaged nearly 25 minutes, 13 points, three assists and one steal per game in his time with the Knicks.
He became a fan-favorite for his electrifying play and spark off the bench (he started just 61 games with the Knicks), and his block of Yao Ming is one of the most memorable "little guy" moments in NBA history. Bringing that type of spark back to New York would certainly bode in the best interest of the team, but Robinson may not want to leave the Chicago Bulls.
In his first season with the Bulls, Robinson emerged as a playoff hero because of the absences of Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich. The Bulls were bounced from the playoffs by the Miami Heat, but Robinson played exceptionally well. He scored 16.3 points, dished out 4.4 assists and tallied one steal per game.
Robinson fits head coach Mike Woodson's style of play. Robinson plays with a spirit and energy-level that are matched by few, and his ability to lead a team is very uncommon for a reserve guard. Even if the team chooses to bring back Pablo Prigioni, Robinson could find a home in New York.
Robinson wouldn't cost the Knicks all that much, though he'll likely seek a raise from the $1.15 million he made last season in Chicago. A deal in the $3-4 million range should be enough to lure him in. A multi-year contract could also be explored.
There could be an issue if J.R. Smith re-signs with the Knicks, as both players are generally known as "shoot-first" types. Smith certainly is, but Robinson has shown that he can create for both himself and his teammates. This is a huge step forward for Robinson, who was known for his immaturity and sometimes reckless abandon in his first go-around with the Knicks.
Smith and Robinson can co-exist if Robinson plays more of a point guard's role than a shooting guard's role. He proved he could do just that this past postseason.
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