Chicago pays $10.5M so both can move on
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls parted ways with forward Eddie Robinson on Monday, buying out the last two years of his contract for $10.5 million and ending a relationship that has been strained since he arrived.
Robinson had two years and $13.9 million left on the deal he signed in 2001. The buyout makes him a free agent, and the Bulls agreed to pay him regardless of whether he signs with a new team. James Bryant, one of Robinson's agents, said that a handful of teams already have expressed interest and that the player could have a new deal by next week.
"It was just incompatibility. It just didn't fit," Bryant said. "This gives the Bulls flexibility to go forward, and Eddie flexibility to find a new situation. He's sorry it didn't work out, but looking forward to the next situation."
The Bulls had high hopes for Robinson when former general manager Jerry Krause signed him to a $30 million, five-year deal. Robinson had averaged 7.4 points and three rebounds for the then-Charlotte Hornets during the 2000-01 season but was strong late in the year. He shot 50 percent or better in 21 straight games from Feb. 2 to March 23, then averaged 12 points and shot better than 70 percent from the floor as he led the Hornets to a sweep of the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
However, Robinson was plagued by injuries from the start in Chicago and was never the player the Bulls wanted. Even though he was healthy for much of the year, he played only 51 games last year, recording 27 "did not play-coach's decision" days.
"For whatever reason, it ended up being not a good feel for Eddie or us. That's never a good thing for anybody involved," Bulls general manager John Paxson said. "As an organization, we're trying to find an identity. ... Eddie's needs are a little outside of the realm of what we're trying to do."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press