The Washington Wizards' salary-cap situation is murky, which means they probably won't make any big splashes in free agency. That said, there are some needs on this team that can be filled, so Ernie Grunfeld must look for bargains that can fit into the few exceptions the Wizards have to use. We'll explore all free agents that could take the mid-level exception or less in this ongoing series. Next up: Nate Robinson.
Team: Chicago Bulls
Type: Unrestricted free agent.
This past year: Handled himself extremely well given his price tag and the Bulls' dire situation at point guard. While he often committed breakdowns that made Tom Thibodeau want to scream, he also poured in points, managed the Bulls' offense reasonably well and committed himself enough to team play to earn some of Thibodeau's trust. His playoff heroics thrust him on a national stage, but Robinson was a useful player for the Bulls all season. He's weak defensively and prone to taking bad shots, but on the whole, his numbers indicate a high-usage, reasonably-efficient guard. That's valuable to any team.
Why he's fit in well: Robinson can certainly score, something this Wizards' bench desperately needs. He also takes shots more within the flow of the offense than one would think, though that may be masked a bit because of Thibodeau's structured style.
Why he might not: Robinson's off-court reputation may be a bit overstated, but he still violates Ted Leonsis' "no jerks" edict on principle. Robinson still takes questionable shots, and while he's more efficient than Jordan Crawford, he's the same kind of player in many ways. The Wizards already traded Crawford because his game didn't fit with their new style; would they really want to abandon their philosophy to bring in Robinson?
Likely price tag: It depends on whether NBA teams see him as a reformed player. His antics have forced him to scrape at the bottom of the barrel, but he's also produced in multiple spots now. Will teams see that and want to offer Robinson something more than the bi-annual exception?
Verdict: Robinson is an intriguing option, but I'm not sure the Wizards are ready to deal with some of the extra-curricular risks he brings. Robinson would be ideal in a strong locker room like the Bulls, but I'm not sure the Wizards are at that point yet.