The Minnesota Timberwolves were a popular pick to make some noise in the Western Conference, but the young team has not delivered, winning just three of their first ten games.
That is extremely frustrating for point guard Ricky Rubio, one of the team’s longest-tenured players. Rubio was blunt in his assessment of things after Minnesota’s 115-108 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.
There was a whole lot of confidence among the team’s players before the season started, but a 3-7 start is enough to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. It’s not too late for the Timberwolves to turn it around by any stretch, but Tom Thibodeau has to get his young charges into shape soon. Perhaps veteran leaders like Rubio can help, too.
People everywhere reacted to the news of Donald Trump winning the presidential election on Tuesday. And a few choice NBA players had some reactions worthy of our attention.
Here’s a tweet sent by Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio, who is from Spain:
From the Sixers’ Joel Embiid:
And from the Lakers’ Lou Williams:
The Ricky Rubio Trade Rumor Pinwheel just never stops turning.
According to a report by Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN on The Scoop Podcast, the Sacramento Kings are interested in trading for Rubio and have been for quite some time.
While Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has insisted over the summer that the team is likely holding onto the Spanish point guard, the trade chatter surrounding Rubio never really seems to go away.
The Kings’ point guard situation is a hot mess right now after Rajon Rondo bolted in free agency and Darren Collison was arrested for domestic violence.
We know that Sacramento has several pieces they want to move, namely high-scoring forward Rudy Gay. Rubio is not irreplaceable after the Wolves drafted Providence point guard Kris Dunn No. 5 overall last June and could find success feeding the ball to a massive-volume center like DeMarcus Cousins. And with Minnesota in need of an extra big man and the Kings hording entire truckloads of them, it could prove a viable match at least on paper.
It might be time to add Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio to our zombie apocalypse team, because, if the unrelenting trade rumors that continually dog him are any indication, he’s a damn survivor.
In an interview with Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday, Wolves owner Glen Taylor said that it’s unlikely the team deals away Rubio.
“I don’t see that as a likely possibility,” Taylor said when asked about a potential Rubio trade. “I just think the coach, everybody, likes Ricky. I think we want him to come in and improve on his shooting. But his other things, he plays defense, he gets assists, he helps the others get better. He has some wonderful qualities.
“I think the coach wants to bring an assistant coach to help Ricky on his shooting,” Taylor continued. “I think that’s where we’re going to start out and go and we’ll see how good Kris Dunn is.”
Minnesota drafted Dunn, a similarly all-purpose floor general with fewer jump-shooting/finishing struggles, at No. 5 overall last month in a move that was widely seen as securing a successor for Rubio at the point guard position. But Rubio, who might be the best all-around playmaker in the league and is a stellar on-ball defender, is a difficult piece to part with, especially given the chemistry he has built over the years with the Wolves’ young hub of talent.
A Rubio trade has seemed imminent now for weeks, if not months. But Wolves management has always been publicly insistent that the Spaniard is not a sitting duck.
With Rubio on a team-friendly contract through 2019, the Wolves would be justified in having Dunn serve as Rubio’s understudy in his rookie season and pick up a few tricks while running the offense for the second unit, then seeing where things stand with Rubio’s future from there.
Ricky Rubio’s future in Minnesota is likely coming to an end.
The Timberwolves have a new regime in charge and drafted point guard Kris Dunn fifth overall on Thursday. Though there is no guarantee that they will keep Dunn, it sounds like they will be cutting Rubio loose soon.
Minnesota’s new head coach is Tom Thibodeau, who puts strong emphasis on good defense. Even though Rubio averages over two steals per game, maybe Thibodeau doesn’t see him as the kind of defensive point guard he wants.
Another issue with Rubio is that the longtime Minnesota point guard has never shot better than 38.1 percent from the field. That’s not a good enough number in a day when a point guard in your own conference like Steph Curry is shooting 45.4 percent on 3-pointers!
Ricky Rubio has never made the NBA Playoffs in his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and if that doesn’t change soon he may seek greener pastures.
The T’wolves point guard told Catalunya Radio in Spain that he may seek to leave Minnesota if they cannot end their playoff drought next season.
“When I arrived to Minnesota, my hope was to break the seven years’ streak without [a] presence in [the] playoffs. I still have that hope, but it’s very tough mentally when year after year that goal is not met,” Rubio said, via ESPN.
“Next season will be crucial for me. I’ve been in the NBA for five years, and six years without playoffs would be a long time. At 26, I’d have to start thinking about teams that can get to the playoffs and win in the Finals.”
Minnesota hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004 and hasn’t even had a winning season since 2004-05. They now have a widely respected coach in place who also has personnel control, plus a talented young core that looks to be going places. Will it take too long for Rubio’s liking? It still might. Of course, Minnesota may trade him before then anyway, although the new regime may be kinder to the point guard than the old one was.
The Minnesota Timberwolves strongly considered the possibility of trading point guard Ricky Rubio at the trade deadline. We know this because his boss told him so.
Rubio, who has shot the ball better this season and vastly improved his 3-point stroke, told The Associated Press this week that T-Wolves GM Milt Newton recently informed he was “almost traded” but the offers were not rich enough.
“When the GM comes to you and says that’s what happened, it hurts, but you’ve got to be professional,” Rubio said. “You’ve been here all your career and thinking they were supporting you. At some point, they weren’t. But I’m professional. I’m going to give it my all. I love playing basketball and every time I step on the court I want to win.”
We don’t know how it would have happened, but Newton insists Rubio misunderstood him.
“I told him we’ve never, ever called another team to trade you, but it is my job to listen,” the GM said. “I even shared that with his agent. I never told him we almost traded you, because we didn’t almost trade him.”
This is not the first time Newton has claimed the T-Wolves are not interested in trading Rubio, yet very specific rumors continue to pop up. The reality is there are probably very few teams who have been willing to give up much for Rubio, which makes sense considering his disappointing play and inability to stay healthy.
Rubio has not missed a game since Nov. 29. If he can close out the season healthy, he will be able to work on his game this offseason rather than rehabbing. That could inspire the Timberwolves to keep him, or it could increase his trade value. Will a head coach like this one come calling? We wouldn’t rule it out.
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.
While the Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly not looking to trade point guard Ricky Rubio before Thursday’s deadline, they might want to consider placing a call to the Milwaukee Bucks if they change their mind.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has “long been enamored” with Rubio. The T-Wolves will likely be looking for a point guard with better scoring ability if and when they deal Rubio, and it’s unclear if the Bucks can meet that demand.
There have been rumors that Milwaukee is open to trading Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but he is more of a swingman who has struggled to remain healthy. The Bucks would likely have to give up more than that to acquire Rubio, whether this week or during the offseason.
Kidd was a pass-first point guard during his 19-year NBA career. He was also named to the NBA’s All Defensive First Team four times and Second Team five teams. While he struggles to put the ball in the hoop, Rubio is also a tremendous passer and defender. Kidd likely sees some of himself in the 25-year-old.
If you read what T-Wolves GM Milt Newton said about Rubio before the season, you might be inclined to think Minnesota plans on keeping Rubio and his team-friendly contract. Of course, we all know how quickly things can change in the NBA.
H/T Pro Football Talk
The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly willing to listen to offers for Ricky Rubio leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that Rubio is “readily available,” and there is a growing belief that the 25-year-old point guard will be moved this week.
Isola notes that the Knicks are looking to add a point guard and that Rubio’s exceptional passing ability and defensive skills might interest Phil Jackson. However, Rubio is just 25 and signed through the 2018-2019 season. Even if the T-Wolves are making him available, they would likely want a substantial package in return.
Prior to the start of the regular season, Timberwolves GM Milt Newton had some high praise for Rubio and said he is not available via trade. Rubio has probably been happier in Minnesota since this guy left town, but he may eventually be the odd man out with the continuing emergence of Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins already looking like a star. The T-Wolves would pull the trigger if they got the right offer.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk
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