Veteran forward Clifford Robinson re-signs with Nets

Updated: August 15, 2006, 11:15 AM ET news services

NEWARK, N.J. -- Clifford Robinson will play again for the New Jersey Nets.

Clifford Robinson

The troubled forward, suspended during last season's playoffs for violating the NBA's drug policy, has re-signed with the Nets. The team announced Friday that he reached a contract agreement and passed his physical.

Robinson, a key backup for Richard Jefferson and Jason Collins, turns 40 in December. It was Robinson's second suspension in two seasons, but Thorn expressed confidence in the 17-year veteran.

"Cliff played very well for us, number one. Number two, he's very popular with his teammates. Number three, he's a leader in the clubhouse," Thorn said. "I think he felt sort of an obligation toward us, since it ended on a sour note last year."

Robinson's age did not appear to be a concern.

"He played around 20 minutes a game last year. But it depends how he plays and how other people play," Thorn said. "He had a lot left in the tank last year, so we'll see."

Robinson said he still can contribute to the team, which did not disclose terms of the deal.

"It's not going to be my 18th year for nothing," he said. "It was the best scenario to come back and play with the Nets. We had good chemistry."

Robinson was suspended for five games during the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat. The series was tied 1-1 at the time, and the Nets lost the next three games to the eventual champions. He averaged 6.9 points and 3.3 rebounds last season.

Without discussing specifics about the cause of his suspension, Robinson said he has taken steps to prevent a recurrence. He was suspended for five games in February 2005 while playing for Golden State. Players are suspended for five games for a third positive test for marijuana.

"I could have made better choices. I could have sought out someone to talk with, and I didn't do that," he said.

Robinson became a free agent in June when the Nets declined to exercise a $2.5 million option on his existing contract. That gave the two sides a chance to arrange a new deal.

Robinson had 23 double-doubles last season, twice scoring 20-plus points. His career average is 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds with five different teams.

The Associated Press and SportsTicker contributed to this report.