It was only a year ago that the Minnesota Timberwolves traded away Kevin Love and promptly signed star point guard Ricky Rubio to a long-term deal. Rubio was supposed to be their new franchise player, with swing man Andrew Wiggins coming in to eventually take over that role down the road.
The passing of that torch could be coming a lot quicker than expected. Per reports, the Timberwolves are very much interested in unloading Ricky Rubio in a trade, as the 24-year old lead guard has had constant ankle issues and the team now has the depth to withstand his loss.
On top of the ankle issues, the T’Wolves apparently are not convinced Rubio is good enough to be their franchise player, and after drafting big man Karl-Anthony Towns in this year’s draft, they may have already found a superior player to trust in. Towns, combined with Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine, could give Minnesota a strong young corps that could slowly build towards getting the T’Wolves back into the NBA playoffs.
Minnesota isn’t off base with their sudden distrust in Rubio being the answer, as he’s never averaged more than 10 points per game and has also never shot better than 38% in any of his four NBA seasons. He’s quite young yet and can obviously improve, but thus far Rubio has been associated mostly with flash, inconsistency, inefficiency, poor health and losing. Minnesota looks to be ready to cut their losses and get something back for their previous investment. Unloading Rubio’s contract is one thing, while also letting one of their young guys like Lavine or even rookie point guard Tyus Jones take over at the point could be why the Timberwolves are loudly going after deals now.
Exactly where Rubio could wind up in a trade is anyone’s guess, but the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks stand out the most as potential landing spots. Brooklyn has just Jarrett Jack and Shane Larkin after letting Deron Williams go this off-season, and neither are suitable starters. Dallas has D-Will in place at the point, but he may not be the answer, while Rubio would be a long-term upgrade and could be the splash Mark Cuban is still looking for going into the 2015-16 NBA season. New York has just a rookie in Jerian Grant at the point, as they’ve been looking for a way to get Jose Calderon out of town. Rubio is a pass-first lead guard that could fit Phil Jackson’s system perfectly.
There are other options for Rubio and it doesn’t seem like Minnesota is too worried about getting a deal done right now, but don’t be shocked if something changes before the season starts. Landing Rubio probably wouldn’t change anyone’s fortunes completely due to his lack of scoring prowess, but wherever he lands he’d offer high level play-making ability. Stay tuned.