Thomas Robinson is a player the Nets have always wanted and the Nets are a team Thomas Robinson has always wanted to play for. And now, finally, they got it done.
The Nets had scouted him extensively in 2012 when he was at Kansas but then went for Gerald Wallace at the deadline and traded the pick. T-Rob meanwhile went from team to team, a top five pick who couldn't stick in Portland, Sacramento, Houston or Denver. Then, when the Nuggets decided to waive him last February, the Nets saw their chance. They offered him a 10-day deal. All he had to do was clear waivers.
Enter Sam Hinkie, the 76er GM, who needed a Robinson-sized contract to meet the CBA salary floor. The Nets and Robinson were pissed. The 23-year-old thought his career was over.
"I'm like, 'I'm done. I'm out of the league.' That was my complete thought," he told Mike Mazzeo. "I figured they just picked me up for my salary and then they were going to dump me. And then two days later, I'd be done. That's what I was thinking."
Instead Brett Brown played him, backing up Nerlens Noel and filling in for him when he was out. it worked out just fine.
"I played the most minutes I've played in my career. And what a coincidence, I doubled my numbers." In 22 games with Philadelphia, Robinson averaged 8.8 points and 7.7 rebounds over 18.5 minutes a night. He also averaged 2.3 personals. He's been foul prone.
The 76ers of course didn't need him back, with Noel, Jahlil Okafor and, they thought, Joel Embiid, upfont.
Enter Billy King, who impressed T-Rob with a midnight phone call on July 1. The two agreed quickly on a two-year vets minimum deal with a player option. King finally got his man.
"I just want him to play hard, rebound the basketball and run the floor," King told Mazzeo. "I look at him as an energy guy like Tristan Thompson. A shot goes up, get the rebound, finish it, and play physical, be a physical big."
Robinson will have to wait a while to get back on court. A small meniscus tear led to surgery this week, but everyone thinks he will be well in time for training camp, wearing, finally, black and white.
Thomas Robinson hoping NBA carousel stops with Brooklyn Nets - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York