Ranking Best Potential Fits for Chicago Bulls to Replace Nate Robinson
The Chicago Bulls inked one of the top bargain buys of the 2012 offseason when they landed Nate Robinson. Can they do this again and find a sufficient replacement for Nate Rob?
Robinson will almost surely be in another uniform come next season's outset. He raised eyebrows throughout 2012-13 and will most likely inherit a multi-year deal from a different franchise.
The Bulls simply can't justify giving him such a deal when they already have three point guards (Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague) under contract for 2013-14.
Truthfully, they don't need a newcomer who can replicate Robinson's production. With Rose back and Hinrich and Teague also available, adding another point guard is more of an insurance move. Furthermore, such a maneuver will likely feature a player who comes at a minimum-level contract.
The Bulls should thus peruse the free-agency list and see which potential fit is not only a bargain buy, but also boosts their overall team chemistry.
The following players comprise Chicago's best options for Robinson's replacement.
5. Earl Watson
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Earl Watson is nothing special, but he's capable of running the point and distributing. According to Basketball-Reference, in 2012-13, he averaged 8.3 assists per 36 minutes.
Outside of that, he doesn't bring much to the table. He's a subpar shooter, and he will soon be 34 years old.
Yet, with the Bulls strained financially, Watson would be an extremely cheap option. He would provide them with an insurance body, and as an aging veteran, he would likely be content with a role at the end of the bench.
Watson would be an acceptable signing, but there are definitely better options out there—players who could potentially come as inexpensively as Watson yet produce much more effectively.
4. Daniel Gibson
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Unfortunately, he hasn't progressed, and he'll just hope to log playing time wherever he winds up in 2013-14.
The Bulls are a viable destination. Gibson's long-range shooting could become useful for a Bulls team in need of it.
Furthermore, he likely won't command a deal over $1 million.
The main concern with Gibson is if he'll mesh with Chicago's chemistry. He is still just 27 years old and may not willingly embrace a marginal role.
This could pose conflict, and it gives the Bulls reason to explore other options that may connect better with coach Tom Thibodeau and Chicago's roster.
3. Mike James
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Mike James is an option that makes a great deal of sense, namely because he played in the Windy City during the 2011-12 venture.
He is thus familiar with Chicago's core and style of play.
Perhaps more importantly is the fact that James is a model locker room guy who will show no signs of pouting if lacking playing time. He will be 38 years old next season, and he has already experienced his fair share of team changes and adversity.
Quite frankly, he could be an ideal addition simply because of the mentor-like status he'd bring.
What's more, James is still an adequate point guard, as evidenced during his stint with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012-13. He even found himself starting 23 games for them.
James would certainly come within the budget, and he would unquestionably bolster team chemistry. This alone could justify him as their top replacement option.
2. Will Bynum
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Will Bynum has always had a knack for making plays offensively, and he's a native of Chicago. He thus seems like a reasonable fit for numerous reasons.
This past season, Bynum compiled an eye-opening campaign for the lowly Detroit Pistons. Consider his per-36 numbers, according to Basketball-Reference: 18.8 points per game (47 percent from the field), 6.8 assists per game and 1.3 steals per outing.
The question is whether Bynum would be willing to come to Chicago, where his role would be minimal. He may receive a more featured opportunity elsewhere.
If he's willing, however, he presents an intriguing scenario for the Bulls. He's a small figure (6'0'') who brings offensive potency, which is highly similar to Nate Rob.
Bynum is definitely a free agent the Bulls should target. His interest level and asking price should be gauged immediately.
1. Derek Fisher
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Derek Fisher is another declining veteran whom the Bulls could acquire for cheap. Similar to James, he would be a quality locker room guy and would readily understand any given role.
What situates him ahead of the other potentials is his championship experience. He has played in an astounding 240 career playoff games.
Whether he's playing or merely providing tutelage from the bench, he would be an ideal asset amid Chicago's depth chart.
Plus, Fisher does provide some offensive intangibles that could be beneficial for the Bulls, particularly three-point range and a free-throw shooter late in games.
Fisher has never been a stud in the NBA, but he has lasted 17 years because of his mental capabilities. This edge he provides could give Chicago a distinct X-factor as they seek title contention next season.