Robinson may adjust the volume of Bulls locker room
Nate Robinson, shown here playing with Boston, officially signed a one-year deal worth $1.1 million on Tuesday.
associated press, june 2010
The Bulls' locker room has been a relatively quiet place for the past decade or so.
The subject briefly became a matter of controversy when Ben Wallace arrived in 2006 and tried to liven up the atmosphere by playing music at his locker.
Wallace was used to the Detroit Pistons' locker room, which typically featured music at full blast and Rasheed Wallace rapping along to every word.
The Bulls, though, maintained a team policy of listening to music through headphones early. Plus, they had a bunch of low-key personalities, like Elton Brand, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, and now Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose.
Joakim Noah has a reputation as a free spirit, but the devoted Bob Marley fan keeps more of a laid-back, Jamaican demeanor most of the time. The only real loud guy I can remember is guard Anthony Roberson, who was around for only a short time in 2009.
This state of calm seems about to change with the addition of guard Nate Robinson, who officially signed a one-year deal worth $1.1 million on Tuesday. The 5-foot-9 Robinson, the shortest player in Bulls history, is usually the loudest person in any locker room.
The three-time slam dunk champion, with a 43-inch vertical leap, has a personality to match his game. To learn more about Robinson, just watch his YouTube reality show, "State of Nate."
"The best asset to my game is my energy," Robinson told bulls.com after signing his new deal. "Night in and night out, that's what I'm going to bring. I'll play as hard as I can for as long as I can."
Some fans have been wondering how Robinson will fit with the Bulls, but the addition does make some sense. He's a scorer, having averaged 17.2 points for the Knicks in 2008-09. At the same time, he seems to have improved his play-making ability, with a career-high 4.5 assists in part-time duty with Golden State last season.
Coach Tom Thibodeau has first hand experience, working with Robinson in Boston during half of the 2009-10 season.
"(Thibodeau) was like, 'We want you here and we think you can help us out a lot,'" Robinson said, according to bulls.com. "For a coach to go out of his way and let you know that your services are wanted made it that much easier to feel loved and welcome. He's a great guy, a drill sergeant who is very serious and always prepared."
The addition of Robinson gives the Bulls 12 healthy players, plus a recovering Rose, pending Deng's decision about having wrist surgery after the Olympics. So far in two losses by Great Britain, Deng is shooting 28 percent from the field (11-for-40). He did have 8 assists and 8 rebounds in Tuesday's narrow loss to Brazil.
There are still some interesting free agents available — such as Michael Redd, Greg Oden and Tracy McGrady — and the Bulls are interested in bringing summer league standout Malcolm Thomas to training camp, but the roster might also be complete.
Hinrich figures to start at point guard, with Robinson the primary backup, while rookie Marquis Teague is brought along slowly. When Rose returns, someone will play a lot less, but that's an issue for another day.
Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli are the shooting guards. If Deng misses the start of the season, Jimmy Butler will likely start at small forward with new addition Vladimir Radmanovic coming off the bench. Big men Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson are intact, with vet Nazr Mohammed replacing Omer Asik.
The Bulls couldn't offer much cash to free agents, but seem to have found a few who are excited about jumping aboard. Mohammed is a Chicago native. On the day Belinelli signed, he checked out the Bulls history hanging on the walls of the press room and tweeted a photo of himself standing at the Berto Center entrance. Even Robinson seems to appreciate the history.
"There were a lot of other teams, but you really can't pass on an opportunity like this to play for the Bulls, who are like America's team," Robinson said. "I'm happy to be a part of it."
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