When the Celtics take the court Wednesday against the New Jersey Nets at the TD Garden, Nate Robinson will be on the floor as their starting point guard.
This summer, he almost wound up on the other side.
Nets coach Avery Johnson said before Wednesday night's game that back in July, when the team began its offseason rebuilding process, Robinson was on a short list of free-agent guards they considered to fill out their bench. Eventually the Nets decided on Jordan Farmar, and not Robinson, as their third guard.
"I don't want to say it was close," Johnson said of the Nets signing Robinson. "But he was one of the guys that was high on our list. We thought he could do just what he's doing now for the Celtics — it was just a matter of who was going to be the best fit. It came down to two or three guys, and Jordan was our guy."
Farmar, a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, signed with the Nets on July 12 for three years and $12 million. Four days later Robinson returned to Boston, signing a two-year, $8.7 million contract to remain in Celtic green.
"If we had made a firm offer, I think in the back of all of our minds, we knew he was going to come back here [to Boston]," Johnson admitted. "Which I think was a good decision for him."
As it turns out, the Celtics are very happy they kept Robinson around. With Rajon Rondo injured and Delonte West slowly working his way back from a season-opening suspension, Robinson has emerged as the team's interim starting point guard. He's handled the role well.
"He's been great," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Nate's played two terrific games. Our offensive numbers haven't changed at all, and in Atlanta, our defense was as good as it's been all season. He had a terrific defensive energy game."