Report: C's close to deal for Robinson

The Boston Herald's Mark Murphy reported Tuesday night that the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks could be close to a deal that would bring three-time dunk champion Nate Robinson to Boston.

From the Herald:

According to multiple sources, the Celtics and Knicks are close to a deal that would bring guard Nate Robinson to the Celts, possibly in exchange for Eddie House.

A league source, as well as a Knicks source, said today that both sides still have interest in the deal that has been discussed in the last month. Two sources in Sacramento, where the Celts played the Kings last night, verified the interest from both sides.

ESPN's Chris Sheridan confirmed that the teams have renewed discussions that began several weeks ago.

But there are a few red flags:

  • Robinson is making $4 million this season, but is a base-year contract player, so, like we discussed with Glen Davis when that Bobcats rumor floated last week, Robinson's trade value is significantly less. The New York Times' Larry Coon wrote a nice breakdown of the problems this presents in the Off the Dribble blog.

  • Using ESPN's Trade Machine, the only deal we could scratch together quickly was Robinson for Tony Allen and Shelden Williams. If, as Murphy writes, House is involved, it would seem a third team or some creative packaging would need to be done to make this work.

  • Unless the Celtics are including draft picks, it seems slightly odd that the Knicks would be interested in this deal. Even if Robinson remains disgruntled in New York, his $4 million salary is set to come off the books at the end of the season. New York would almost certainly be seeking expiring contracts, which the Celtics can offer in the likes of House ($2.86 million), Allen ($2.5 million), J.R. Giddens ($1.03 million), Brian Scalabrine ($3.4 million), and Williams ($825,000).

  • While the Celtics are certainly interested in a backup point guard, on the surface, it would seem they'd be more in the market for a defense-first guy who can really run the second-team offense by distributing the ball. Now, if the Celtics moved House in the deal, they'd need a guy who could also score the ball, but -- as House showed during Tuesday's game vs. Sacramento -- he remains a valuable asset on this team offensively, despite his struggles this season.

  • The Knicks are reportedly involved in many potential deals (Houston, Chicago). It will be interesting to see which domino falls first and how it affects the others.

Update: Sheridan chimes in with the following:

I have confirmed that the teams have renewed discussions, but there is one major thing to keep in mind: Robinson is what's known as a base-year compensation player, which can be a complicating factor. Robinson makes $4 million, but the Knicks can take back a maximum of only $2.02 million in returning salary.

"Just an educated guess, but if Boston was willing to trade a No. 1 pick for Nate, it'd blunt the pain of surrendering a first-rounder or two to the Rockets in a McGrady deal. On a related note, three plugged-in sources indicated the Knicks seemed eager to get their business done Wednesday rather than wait until the 11th hour Thursday afternoon.

Quick thoughts after Sheridan's update: Surrendering a first-round pick isn't the end of the world for the playoff-bound Celtics, who are likely to be drafting in the late 20s anyhow. But this is also a team that desperately needs to get younger and giving up a first-round pick for a three-month rental could be shortsighted.

Some will argue a late first-round pick is nothing more than a guy like Giddens, who hasn't earned a spot in the rotation in his season-plus in Boston, but the Celtics could always find a guy like Glen Davis (an early second-round selection) at that spot. Interesting to see if New York's desire to accelerate a deal forces Boston to pull back, given what would appear to be their desire to let the trade market play out straight to the deadline.