Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Nate Out as Celtics Trade Seems Imminent; Knicks Deal Darko for Cardinal
NEW YORK — The Knicks played the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden without guard Nate Robinson.
The Bulls won, 115-109, behind Derrick Rose’s 27 points, Luol Deng’s 23 and 19 of Brad Miller’s 21 in the second half.
Amid multiple reports that New York was on the brink of trading Robinson to the Boston Celtics, Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni said Robinson was sick.
“Nate’s still sick, he wouldn’t be here anyway,” D’Antoni said. “He had flu-like symptoms.”
Celtics guard Eddie House told reporters Wednesday he is part of a deal that will bring Robinson to the Celtics.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a done deal, but there’s a pretty good chance it’s going through,” House’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told the Boston Herald.
D’Antoni coached House in Phoenix and Bartelstein said the coach is a fan.
“Mike D’Antoni is a huge fan of Eddie,” Bartelstein told the Boston Herald. “Mike told me on more than one occasion that his greatest regret was letting Eddie go.”
Robinson reportedly stands to make a $1 million bonus if his team makes the playoffs.
Robinson won his record third dunk competition at All-Star Weekend in Dallas. He is averaging 13.2 points per game. House is averaging 7.2 points per outing.
Knicks forward Al Harrington, himself the subject of trade rumors, said the team would miss Robinson if indeed he’s traded.
“If that’s the case, I wish him good luck,” Harrington said. “Obviously, [I would] be happy for him. [It would] put him in a position where he’d be on a winning team and possibly could be playing for a championship. Obviously going from this situation to that would be a great opportunity for him, so I just wish him luck.”
Asked what the Knicks would miss without Robinson, Harrington added:
“He’s our little spark-plug. He does a lot for us, not only on the court but off the court, too. Keeping everybody’s spirits up. If he’s gonna be moved, he’s definitely gonna be missed.”
Bulls guard John Salmons was back at the hotel and not at the game in anticipation of a possible trade.
“He’s not going to play,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He’s gonna be at the hotel and I’ll find out more after the game.”
David Aldridge of NBA.com reported in a Tweet that sources said Salmons could land in Milwaukee for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson.
Any team that picks up Salmons will owe him $5.8 million next year.
KNICKS DEAL DARKO FOR CARDINAL
While the Robinson deal has yet to be announced, the Knicks did announce that center Darko Milicic had been traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for forward Brian Cardinal.
The 7-foot Milicic was acquired by New York from Memphis in exchange for Quentin Richardson on June 25, 2009.
He played sparingly and averaged 2.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 8.9 minutes in just eight games with New York. Drafted by Detroit with the second overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft, Milicic has career averages of 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 345 career games with Detroit, Orlando, Memphis and New York.
He has said he may return to Europe to finish out his career.
The 6-8 Cardinal has career averages of 5.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 354 games over 10 NBA seasons with Detroit, Washington, Golden STate, Memphis and Minnesota. He was averaging 1.7 points, 0.9 rebounds and 9.0 minutes in 27 games this year with Minnesota.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.