Just a few quick addendums on Nate Robinson, whom the C’s are reportedly close to acquiring as we approach the deadline, according to the Herald:
• Robinson is what’s known as a base-year compensation (BYC) player, a designation given to players who receive a big salary increase from the previous season. This makes a straight-up Knicks/Celtics trade very difficult. Here’s what I wrote a month ago:
[Under BYC rules] Nate Robinson counts as a $4 million player (his real salary) for the Celtics but as a base-year player (with a $2 million salary) for the Knicks. So trades in which the C’s are sending out about $2 million for Robinson—don’t work, since the C’s are bringing in a $4 million player.
If you want more on BYC, check out this piece in The New York Times by salary cap expert Larry Coon, which addresses Robinson directly. (Hat tip: Green Street). Basically: A straight-up two-team trade between the C’s and Knicks is very difficult.
There are two ways to overcome this problem:
1) Add a third team with the cap space to swallow the extra salary the C’s must send out in any Nate trade but which the Knicks can’t accept. Memphis would seem to be the only logical candidate, and they might demand some sweetener—cash or a pick—for their participation in a three-way;
2) Include enough players on each side that the salaries even out. This is unlikely, since the C’s aren’t looking to deal too many guys and the Knicks are on the verge of a mega-deal with Houston for Tracy McGrady.
• One reason the C’s are said to be looking for a back-up point guard despite having both Marquis Daniels and Eddie House on the roster is that Daniels, though a skilled ball-handler, might not be up to defending ultra-quick point guards. And we know the team doesn’t trust House to guard star point guards.
Your first instinct is probably to laugh at the idea that Nate Robinson—a 5’9” guy not exactly known for his D—could be an asset on defense. That was my first instinct, too.
Then I dug into every publicly available stat that could reveal Robinson’s defensive impact since he entered the league in 2005. The numbers told a different, subtler story: Nate Robinson has had no significant statistical impact, positive or negative, on New York’s defensive performance. The numbers are basically neutral. That obviously doesn’t mean Nate is some sort of stopper. You only need to watch the Knicks for a half to know that’s not the case.
But it means that he may not be as big a liability as you (or I) might think. I can at least say this: There is no statistical proof Robinson has ever made a bad Knicks defense any worse.
• Robinson will be a so-called Bird free agent if the Knicks keep him, and (as I understand the CBA) he must consent to any trade, since he will no longer be a Bird free agent if the Knicks deal him. For our purposes, this means the C’s would not have the usual Bird right benefits in negotiating with Robinson in the off-season—namely, the ability to go over the cap to re-sign him without using the mid-level exception. They’d either have to let him walk or use the mid-level.
In any case, Eddie House would seem to be a logical main ingredient in any deal for Robinson. They are by no means identical players, but their skills—and heights—overlap enough that I can’t see Doc finding enough minutes for both of them to justify keeping House and trading for Nate.
Just my two cents. We’ll find out more over the next 48 hours. Enjoy.