Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio is out for the year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in last night's loss to the Lakers. The injury shakes up one of the teams most prominent in trade rumors, with Thursday's trade deadline just five days away.
Rubio, a rookie, became the starting point guard for the Wolves this year, helping lift the team that finished last season with the league's worst record to a 21-20 mark, good for ninth in the Western Conference. He was averaging 10.6 PPG and 8.2 APG, and was third in the NBA with 2.2 steals a game. He was the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, but spent two years playing overseas before signing a four-year rookie scale contract with Minnesota this past offseason that guarantees him $7.22MM this season and next.
The Wolves had been in the market for a shooting guard, and could be even more motivated to find one if they move Luke Ridnour, who had been starting at two guard, back to his natural position at the point. Michael Beasley, a forward and former No. 2 overall pick who hasn't seen much playing time, could be the most useful asset in a trade, and was drawing interest prior to Rubio's injury.
NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper notes via Twitter that the Hornets own the Wolves' first-round pick this year, so if Minnesota falters without Rubio, New Orleans stands to gain. The injury's six-to-nine month recovery time will also keep him from playing for Spain in this year's summer Olympics, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.