Celtics Bring Back Nate Robinson for Small But Critical Role on Bench

Celtics Bring Back Nate Robinson for Small But Critical Role on Bench The wild card. The X factor. Every championship-caliber team in the NBA needs one, and the Celtics have ensured that they will have theirs for the 2010-11 season.

Multiple sources are now reporting that Nate Robinson will be back with the Celtics next season, as he and his agent Aaron Goodwin have worked out an agreement on a two-year contract worth around $8 million.

There was a time when this day looked inevitable. Then there was a time when it looked like it would never happen. Then it looked likely again.

To say the least, Robinson's first four months in a Celtics uniform were full of ups and downs. After the Celtics acquired Robinson on Feb. 18, shipping Eddie House to the Knicks in a deadline deal, he became an instant fan favorite, hitting 3's and breathing fresh air into a flat Celtics bench.

When the diminutive 26-year-old Robinson struggled with the Celtics' schemes and appeared reluctant to buy into the team concept down the stretch, he found himself in coach Doc Rivers' doghouse in April.

When he came off the bench and exploded for 13 second-quarter points in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Orlando Magic, he was back. And for a brief moment, he was the hero.

Each week, each day — heck, each jump shot — is an adventure with Robinson. But the Celtics are a better team with the unpredictable 5-foot-9 guard on their bench.

His role with the Celtics over the next two years isn't exactly clear. There will be nights when his presence is vital, as he'll be called upon to fill in for Rajon Rondo at the point when he's tired or injured. There will be nights when the C's need his instant offense to light a fire and get them back into a game. And frankly, there will probably also be nights when Robinson doesn't have his best game, and Rivers relegates him back to the end of the bench.

There will be plenty more ups and plenty more downs over the next two years. But Robinson remains a critical piece of the Celtics' championship puzzle. Next spring, if the Celtics once again find themselves deep in the playoffs but in need of a little spark to get them over the top, the little man will be there. He just might come up big again.

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