As July winds down, two members of the Bulls last season can no longer be concerned with returning to Chicago in the fall to prepare for training camp at the Berto Center.
Both departures are bittersweet.
Nate Robinson, according to multiple reports Monday, has agreed to terms with the Denver Nuggets on a two-year contract worth $4 million. The news was first reported by the Denver Post.
Robinson, who became a fan favorite in Chicago, averaged 13.1 points per game for the Bulls and was the team's postseason hero for his memorable moments in the playoffs.
The diminutive scorer was one of the last impact unrestricted free agents on the market and voiced his frustrations at how the process was unfolding for him, but was extremely gracious about his opportunity in Chicago, taking to Twitter to share his thoughts. But while Robinson enjoyed his time with the Bulls and many fans would have loved to see him return, with Derrick Rose back in the lineup, veteran Kirk Hinrich slated to back him up and 20-year-old Marquis Teague at least deserving of consideration for playing time after a positive outing in summer league, the writing was on the wall.
In Denver, Robinson will back up point guard Ty Lawson, but he'll likely play some shooting guard in reserve, as the Nuggets also have veteran floor general Andre Miller on the roster. If new head coach Brian Shaw keeps the team's up-tempo philosophy, Robinson could thrive in the Rockies.
Meanwhile, Malcolm Thomas, who was signed to series of 10-day contracts late in the season and eventually signed for the remainder of the campaign, was more optimistic about his chances to be back in Chicago. Although the power forward could still be invited to training camp, after the Bulls announced that he was waived Tuesday, it wouldn't be surprising to see him garner interest from other teams around the league and focus on another opportunity.
Thomas led the summer league in rebounding while playing for the Bulls for a second straight year, setting a Las Vegas record with 22 boards in one contest. The Bulls are likely to sign a free-agent big man to reach the league minimum of 13 players to start the season, but according to a person with knowledge of the situation, the organization's preference may be a more experienced true center.
It should be noted that the move wasn't made because of dissatisfaction with Thomas. If the 6-foot-9 San Diego State product was on the roster Wednesday, the Bulls would have to guarantee $250,000 of his contract, which would be prohibitive for luxury-tax purposes.