Report: Wolves pushed for Ricky Rubio-Khris Middleton swap at deadline
Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio survived the 2016 NBA trade deadline, but it looks like he only did so by the skin of his teeth.
According to a report by Zach Lowe of ESPN on Friday, Minnesota made a push to acquire Bucks forward Khris Middleton at the deadline in exchange for the Spanish floor general:
After some initial talks, the Wolves told Milwaukee they would swap Ricky Rubio for Middleton, and when the Bucks declined, Minnesota even discussed the possibility of tossing in a protected 2016 first-round pick, per league sources familiar with the matter. Other outlets have reported Milwaukee’s interest in Rubio — Jason Kidd seems to have a thing for rangy point guards with busted jumpers — but Milwaukee never seriously entertained trading Middleton, sources say.
The 25-year-old Rubio has become a bit of an conundrum in Minnesota: an elite playmaker and on-ball defender but one who assassinates floor spacing with his offensive deficiencies. Rubio doesn’t really fit in with the Wolves’ core of exhilarating young talent nor their backbone of veteran leaders, and it doesn’t seem like the team considers him a key part of their long-term future.
Meanwhile, almost the opposite is true for Middleton in Milwaukee. Already one of the most complete two-way wings in the league at the age of 24, Middleton has earned a defined, featured role within the Bucks’ promising nucleus of players. We also heard earlier reports about them turning down Atlanta’s offer of Jeff Teague for Middleton at the deadline.
Middleton’s virtual untouchability in Milwaukee is a luxury that Rubio does not enjoy with the Timberwolves, so it’s worth keeping an eye on to see if Minnesota makes another push to trade away their starting point guard over the offseason.