Mike D'Antoni Still Has No Use for Nate Robinson
"They think it's always personal," D'Antoni told reporters. "I don't know a coach yet that says, you know what, I don't like him [and] I'd rather lose. That doesn't work. I'd play Satan himself if I could win. I got no morals or scruples. I'm judged if we win or lose. There is nothing else. You win enough, you stay, you lose enough, you're gone."
On a night in which the Knicks were already down a guard (Larry Hughes sat with a groin injury), D'Antoni remained convinced that the best chance for a win was keeping Robinson glued to the bench for the seventh consecutive game. To be fair, the Knicks hung with the Bulls for three quarters before folding in the fourth, but how many players need to go down before Robinson re-joins the rotation?
D'Antoni has never pointed to a specific incident for why Robinson fell out of favor, but it's believed to be a result of Robinson's general lack of maturity -- the New York Post suggested last week the final straw came when Robinson was caught goofing off with Dwight Howard before a game with the Magic. But for all his faults, Robinson is still a productive player, and he's no less undisciplined than the players on the floor Thursday, who finished the game with a ridiculous 47 three-point attempts (hitting only 16), including an NBA record 29 in the first half.
Will this situation continue to devolve into another Stephon Marbury situation? That still sounds a little extreme ... for now. But Robinson is in a contract year, and while he hasn't let his situation cause any disruptions in the locker room yet, that might not be the case the longer this drags on.
The Knicks could explore trading Robinson (he technically has veto power because he'd lose his Bird rights, though he might welcome a change of scenery if it means he can play) but that's not likely to happen unless they receive an expiring contract in return.