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Knicks’ Nate Robinson to be traded to the Celtics

New York Knick 5′ 9″ combo guard Nate Robinson will be a Boston Celtic this time tomorrow according to a number of solid NBA reports.

The Celtics will send 6′ 1″ (listed) shooting guard Eddie House and little used second year player 6′ 5″ J.R. Giddens to the Knicks for the talented, but unwanted Knick guard, according to a tweet by Marc Spears of Yahoo! sports…


The other missing part of the Nate Robinson-Eddie House deal is expected to be Celtics guard J.R. Giddens, Y! Sports has learned.

Robinson has frustrated head coach Mike D’Antoni since last season and has been in D’Antoni’s doghouse for a while. Nate was benched for a 14 game stretch, nearly the entire month of December.

The Celtics have been seeking a better option to back up Rajon Rondo for a while.  While not a true point guard either, Nate Robinson fills that need better than Eddie House or Marquis Daniels, who is needed to spell Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Fan favorite and locker room good guy Eddie House will be taking that super quick release and deadly three point shooting to New York where he’ll play for his former coach in Phoenix, Mike D’Antoni.

Eddie House set a new Celtic record for accuracy for three point shooting last season (44.4%) , besting current GM Danny Ainge‘s long standing mark.

More important, Eddie was an important part of the 2008 Celtics’ Championship Team. He was the first free agent signing after the Celtics obtained Kevin Garnett. House signed just a day or two later.

House also played an instrumental role in getting James Posey to follow him to Boston to help the Celtics try to win a title.  House was with New Jersey, and if I recall correctly, then free agent Posey was thinking of going to the Nets when House helped persuade him to come with him to Boston. Posey signed with the Celtics and those two played big roles on that team.

Eddie ‘The Professional’  House will fit perfectly in NY with D’Antoni’s system. He already knows it. From Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston…

“I know the coaching staff, I know the system, I know the plays they run. I know my style fits right in. I’m feeling good right now about the way I’m playing. It’s going to be a good thing. You have to take it like that.”

Nate Robinson’s stats for this season: 13.2 pts, 45% FG, 37.5% three point average, 3.7 assists, 2.4 rebounds in 24:23 minutes in 30 games.

This is Nate’s 5th year in the league after starring at Washington. His best year scoring was 2008-9 when he averaged 17.2 points.

While not a natural point guard, Robinson handles the ball better and passes better than Eddie House. House can be effective without the ball in his hands.  In fact, Eddie is at his best coming off screens as a ‘catch and shoot’ three point specialist.

Robinson needs the ball in his hands more to really be effective. He is better ‘off the dribble’ and can drive with some effectiveness.

According to House shoots 94% jump shots (eFG .493%) and just 6% of his shots are inside shots (eFG .50%).

Nate Robinson shoots 75% jump shots (eFG .524%) and 25% are inside shots (drives) for an eFG of .542% which is decent for a guard.

But a big reason for getting Robinson was defense. Honestly, he is not know for his defense in NY. But in New York, who is? Though smaller, he is expected to be a better defender than Eddie House. Nate is much quicker and stronger than House. With his desire to go to the Celtics, where games really matter, it is expected that he will apply himself at that end of the floor here. Remember when we actually saw Sam Cassell and Stephon Marbury exert real effort on defense here?

Nate is 25 years old and those guys (and House) are all on the wrong side of 30.

I don’t know how many know this but….the Knicks were actually a better team with Nate on the floor vs. off. (+1.9). And that was true last season as well.

So, Nate Robinson is a superior and more versatile scorer overall, handles the ball under pressure better, and can defend better than Eddie House.

In a previous interview I did with House, he said that he was ‘a professional’ in how he goes about his business in the NBA. As an oft traveled player (the Knicks will be House’s 9th NBA team) that is important in handling the transitory life he has led. He will certainly be missed in the locker room, on the court, by fans and by the local media.

And this is where another difference shapes up between the two players.

Nate Robinson has a big personality, is a big fan of  Will Farrell, and sometimes hasn’t been a true ‘professional’ in regards to his conduct.

Personality Clash with Coach D’Antoni

He first drew Mike D’Antoni’s ire last season for talking too much and drawing too many technicals on the court. D’Antoni (and the NBA) almost suspended him for pushing referee Kenny Mauer while trying to get at Hornet Chris Paul in game in late March of ’09. Nate had 12 techs on the year at that time.

D’Antoni, in an article by Mitch Lawrence in the Daily News shortly after said…

“He just needs to understand that he does not need to complain to the referees, and I communicated that,” D’Antoni said. “That’s one part of his game that he has to get under control. With referees, you just can’t continuously complain and he has that bad habit and he has to break it.”

Apparently Nate has gotten the message as he doesn’t have a technical this season.

But this season Robinson made sports headlines for shooting at the opposing team’s basket after the buzzer sounded in a Nets game. Mike D. was livid with him and benched him for the rest of the game. Nate looked completely surprised at D’Antoni’s anger with him.

Nate continued to draw frustration from D’Antoni by being too playful and fraternizing with opposing teams before games. That was said to be the reason for Nate’s banishment to the bench in December, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

That eventually ended and Nate has played in all but 2 games since then. In dramatic fashion, Nate’s first game back he scored 41 points, with 8 assists and 6 rebounds in 38 plus minutes.

One thing you can be sure of, is that total commitment will be required from his Celtic team mates led by ‘Mr. Intense’, Kevin Garnett.

Like Stephon Marbury before him, the Celtics expect a new environment such as the Celtics provide will be beneficial to both parties.

There is no doubt that Nate Robinson is a talented basketball player with skills that the Celtics could use. He will be entering a locker room that has been dealing with some issues of their own.

He could be the spark plug off the bench that they need.  Danny is counting on Doc to once again help what could be called a talented but unconventional personality adjust and be productive in the Celtics system.

Nate had said that the Lakers or Celtics were the only two teams he would approve a trade to. He got his wish as did the Celtics for an upgrade at back up point guard.

Robinson is rumored to be in Los Angeles already and will suit up for the Celtics’ game with the Lakers tonight.

Thomas Halzack

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