Friday, July 16, 2010
Source: Celtics bring back Robinson
By Chris Forsberg
Nate Robinson is back in Beantown.
Robinson, an unrestricted free agent, has agreed to return to the Celtics, a source confirmed to ESPNBoston.com.
The Boston Herald, citing a league source, first reported that the deal is for two years and will pay around $4 million per season.
Shortly after Yahoo Sports first reported news of the re-signing, the Twitter-friendly Robinson seemed to acknowledge the reports of his return by Twittering a song entitled "Welcome Back."
Asked by a follower why he chose that, Robinson then tweeted: "Cuz I'm back n beantown baby yeah."
Earlier this week, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge confirmed he was in talks with Robinson's agent, Aaron Goodwin, about bringing back the bench spark plug.
"Nate's a guy we're talking with, along with a slew of other free agents as well. ... I'm not sure there's progress," Ainge said. "I think I know where he stands and I think he knows where we stand. The conversations continue.
"These kind of things can happen in an hour, or they can take a bunch of days."
Evidently, it took two more days.
Ainge said early in the offseason that Robinson was a player the team wanted to bring back, but that took on new urgency when fellow reserve Tony Allen agreed to a three-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this week.
The cap-crunched Celtics can offer only the veteran minimum to unrestricted free agents, but non-Bird rights on Robinson allowed them to re-sign him at up to 120 percent of his contract value from last season.
With the move, Boston solidifies its depth at the guard position, particularly at the point behind Rajon Rondo.
The two-year deal is also in line with Boston's plan to overhaul the team and build around the Paul Pierce-Rondo combination as contracts for Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rasheed Wallace, and Jermaine O'Neal are set to expire after the 2011-12 season.
Robinson averaged only 6.5 points, 2.0 assists and 14.7 minutes in 26 games with Boston last season after coming over with Marcus Landry in a trade-deadline deal that sent Eddie House, J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker to the New York Knicks.
Robinson slid to the end of the bench late in the season, logging two DNPs in the final month that reportedly cost him a $1 million performance bonus.
But he re-emerged with a brilliant and unexpected effort to help the Celtics top the Magic in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, then remained in the rotation through the NBA Finals. Those eight games likely opened the door to his return as a focused Robinson showed commitment at both ends of the court.
For his career, Robinson has averaged 12 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, and the Celtics are hoping his scoring returns and he provides some instant offense off the bench, something the team sorely lacked much of last season.
The Celtics also added Avery Bradley with the 19th pick in this year's draft, and he has the ability to play point guard, which could allow Robinson to spend more time at shooting guard this season.
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.