Nate Robinson accuses Doc Rivers of purposely not playing him to make sure he missed out on nearly $2M

Jesse Cinquini
6 Min Read
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to former Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson, Doc Rivers went out of his way to not play him in a game so that Robinson wouldn’t earn nearly $2 million.

“So, long story short, I had it in my contract where I made like $2 million — it’s like 1.5 or something like that — if I played a certain amount of games,” Robinson began. “Doc Rivers gives me a DNP — the game where I needed one more game to get $1.5 million. And all I had to do was go in the game.

“And before the game, I told KG. I told the team. And they were like, ‘Man, what you gon’ do?’  The real n—- in me wanted to just go sub in and just say, ‘F— it, just sub.’ But they was telling me, ‘Nate, you wanna play in this league a long time, you gotta be professional.’ You gotta — they telling you all this other s—, ‘You don’t wanna go to the D League’ and all this other s—. They try to hold s— over your head to keep you in line.”

Robinson explained why he believes Rivers sat him on purpose.

“So I was like, ‘I’ll play your game — cool, alright, whatever,'” Robinson said. “So, after the game goes, I call my agent. I told him. I was like, ‘Bro, I think he did that on purpose, bro.’ And he was like, ‘Well, we don’t have no proof that he did.’

“And I was like, ‘Bro, I come from the [New York] Knicks.’ I was just playing, and then I don’t play. That’s a clear sign. Why would he give me a DNP for? I’m not hurt. I’m ready to go. What was the reason? And I never even asked him, but I know he did that s— on purpose. I know it. Yeah, he knew. Yes, they know all that. Yes, they know. Yeah, they know. I just didn’t have nobody on my team like a Tom Brady like he did for Gronk (Rob Gronkowski).”

The diminutive guard also said that Boston’s three star players in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were aware of the fact that Robinson lost out on a lot of money because of Rivers’ decision.

“I love the team that I was on,” Robinson said of the Celtics. “KG, Paul, Ray — they showed me love. And then they were just like, ‘Yo, that’s kind of f—– up that’ — and they was like, ‘He knows, too.’ So if they felt like they — they knew. He knew ’cause the whole team — the organization — knew.”

Robinson spent two of his 11 seasons in the NBA playing for the storied Celtics franchise. Across 81 regular-season appearances with Boston, he averaged 6.9 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game on 40.3 percent shooting from the floor and 35.5 percent from deep.

In his first season with the Celtics, Boston ended up reaching the 2010 NBA Finals. In the first three rounds of the 2010 playoffs, Robinson wasn’t a consistent member of the team’s rotation, as he didn’t average more than 7.2 minutes per game in any of the series.

But during the championship series against the Los Angeles Lakers, Robinson made his presence felt. He saw the court in every one of the seven games of the NBA Finals, and his defining performance of the series came in Game 4.

Robinson dropped 12 points off the bench in a game the Celtics went on to win by seven points to tie the series up at two games apiece.

But Robinson and the Celtics lost to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in seven games in the NBA Finals.

The 39-year-old’s time in Boston came to a close after he along with big man Kendrick Perkins were dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic.

Robinson hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015-16 regular season, when he appeared in two games with the New Orleans Pelicans organization.

Suppose Rivers indeed sat Robinson so that the point guard missed out on nearly $2 million. In that case, Robinson is justified for having hard feelings towards his former head coach, even though he enjoyed plenty of team success in his short stint in Boston.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.