The Chicago Bulls are expected to make some moves before the season is done, and while Rip Hamilton is the big name being floated around, a move with someone else could come a lot sooner.
Pippen Ain’t Easy is reporting that according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls may waive point guard Nate Robinson before January 10th.
When the Bulls drafted point guard Marquis Teague this past June, he wasn’t drafted to be a lights out superstar that will threaten Rose’s rule as the face of the franchise, but he was drafted to be a key part of this team. That’s extremely good news for Teague, and based on his recent play it’s looking like a great move by the Bulls front office.
However, it’s not so good news for Nate Robinson.
This isn’t to say Robinson isn’t playing well. But when Derrick Rose comes back, the Bulls won’t be hot on the idea of carrying four point guards on roster when one is too short to be involved in any defensive rotations as a shooting guard. Robinson does give the Bulls rotational depth in terms of offense, but it makes too much sense to keep him. Remember the front office we’re dealing with here, a front office that didn’t earn a lot of faith this offseason.
When the Bulls signed Robinson near the end of the summer (a story that was buried by the Olympics), they signed him to a deal that didn’t kick in as fully guaranteed until January 10th.
This wasn’t a coincidence.
The idea was that if the Bulls are impressed with Nate Robinson, or in other words if they needed Robinson, they would keep him on board for the rest of the season. If Robinson slumped, or someone stepped up, the Bulls could cut Robinson loose and not have to pay a penalty for doing so. Also, when the Bulls signed Robinson, they were in a pinch for cash and couldn’t afford to give him a guaranteed deal.
This isn’t a basketball decision though, so don’t be fooled. Chicago is $3 million into the red, aka the Luxury Tax. The Bulls have never in the history of their existence paid a luxury tax and they’re really not tickled by the idea of spoiling that streak this year. Robinson signed a $1.14 million contract in August and his total cap hit is $854,389.
There’s no question that the Bulls would love to get that off the books.
Shedding Robinson’s contract doesn’t put the Bulls under the tax, but it helps move them in the right direction. It’s very possible the Bulls hang on to Robinson and we’re all reading too much into the luxury tax argument, but history is not on the side of the Bulls front office and fans can’t be chastised for being of little faith.