We all knew this day would come, even though I know some of us were hanging on to the hope that Nate Robinson would miraculously re-sign with the Bulls on a minimum contract. But alas, Nate is headed to the Nuggets on a two-year deal for the bi-annual exception.
After the season he had with the Bulls, it was a tad surprising to see him last so long on the free-agent market. I would bet that he was hoping for a larger deal than he wound up getting, especially considering Marco Belinelli received what was close to a mini-MLE contract, and Nate was certainly better last year. It's also kind of funny to consider that Greg Oden may end up with a larger contract than Nate, and Oden hasn't played a game in four freaking years. But of course, size matters.
Still, I'm happy for Nate that he did end up getting a multi-year deal at something more than the minimum, even if it wasn't for that much more. He really deserved it after toiling away on minimums the past few seasons, and he could be a fun little fit with the Nuggets. Think of the possibilities with him and JaVale McGee!
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It's crazy to think that a player could leave such a lasting impression on a fan base after just one season, but Nate seemed to do just that in Chicago. I know some people weren't a fan of his act, and I was one of those people extremely leery of it heading into the season.
But Nate won me over throughout the course of the year, and I learned to live with some of the boneheaded shots, careless turnovers and often ridiculous celebrations. Nate won countless games for the Bulls, and he was exactly what the team needed in the absence of Derrick Rose. Despite his diminutive stature, Nate was often able to create his own shot at will, and he was actually somewhat of an underrated playmaker.
Furthermore, Nate simply provided excitement on a team that on some nights, was downright unwatchable. The Bulls were a pretty wretched offensive team this past season, but those flashes of Good Nate would often spark the them and at least make the games not a terrible struggle to consume.
And I think I should mention the fact that this dude gave it his all every damn night, playing through injuries and also sickness to appear in every single game during the year. Who can forget Nate puking in a garbage can on the bench during a playoff game?
I must admit that I'm pretty bummed about Nate's departure, although I fully understand why the Bulls didn't want to commit long-term money to him. With Rose back and the team clearly invested in Marquis Teague, there just wasn't going to be that much playing time available. I still think that issue could possibly have been resolved, but paying Nate means no Mike Dunleavy, and the Bulls probably felt that Dunleavy would have more of an impact on the team going forward.
But instead of lamenting the loss of Nate, let's celebrate what he did in his brief tenure in Chicago. Nate certainly left us with plenty of great memories, and although I know we've shared many of these before, it feels like a good time to do it again. So in no particular order, here are some of the highlights from Nate's wild ride in the Windy City.
Nate's first dunk as a Bull
The Discount Double Check (Plus a few extra)
Nate's 35 vs. Knicks in Streak Busters Part Deux
Nate's epic bench celebrations
Nate closes out Heat in Game 1
Nate swats LeBron
Nate slaps LeBron
Nate crosses Humphries
Nate's goes ham vs. Nets in Game 4
So here's to you, Mr. Robinson. And for as much as we enjoyed his heroics this year, he also had a hell of a time in Chicago:
Chicago will always have a place in my heart I'm a miss all my teammates it was a treat playing along side of all of them all stand up guys— Nate Robinson (@nate_robinson) July 22, 2013
I know the nba is a Business but when u build friendships with guys on the team it's hard to say goodbye ... Thanks again chitown one love— Nate Robinson (@nate_robinson) July 22, 2013