The Timberwolves no longer believe in Ricky Rubio as the long-term solution at point guard and have surveyed the trade market for him, as Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher hears (video link). They’re not engaging in trade talk about him now, Bucher adds, nonetheless suggesting a decent chance exists they again explore the subject when the season starts. The dispatch comes despite Rubio’s continued insistence that he would prefer to remain in Minnesota and a recent report from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities that the Wolves weren’t shopping him.
Bucher said that the Nets, Mavericks, Knicks and, most of all, the Bucks make sense for him as a trade destination, though that appears to be speculation. The Knicks “tested the waters” to see if they could trade Jose Calderon, according to Bucher, though it’s unclear if he’s referring to the team’s reported attempts to deal Calderon before the trade deadline this past winter or if he’s heard of more recent efforts on that front.
Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders made mention of Rubio in June when he listed some of the team’s cornerstone players, referring to him as “a great point guard,” so that would run counter to the idea that the Wolves are ready to move on from the former fifth overall pick. Reports in May conflicted on whether Rubio’s camp, which includes agent Dan Fegan, was trying to convince the Wolves to trade him, but Rubio came out shortly thereafter to deny that he wanted out of Minnesota, and Rubio’s most recent comments reiterated that.
The incentive-laden four-year, $55MM extension that Rubio signed last fall kicks in for this coming season, when he’s slated to make $12.7MM. The 24-year-old who turns 25 next month is the highest-paid player on the Timberwolves. He played in a career-low 22 games this past season, chiefly because of injuries to his left ankle.
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