Northwest Notes: Rubio, Jazz, Exum, Blazers

Although there was plenty of speculation that Ricky Rubio could be on the move, the Timberwolves didn’t end up parting ways with the sixth-year veteran. According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, the 26-year-old hasn’t let the rumors impact his game.

Nothing happened, rightLife goes on,” the point guard told Zgoda. In the Timberwolves’ first game since the Thursday deadline, Rubio has dropped consecutive double-doubles.

Teammate Karl-Anthony Towns cites Rubio’s presence in the locker room as an asset for the young Timberwolves. “Ricky is a big part of our team,” Towns said. “Not even from just a skill and leader standpoint. But just morale. Just seeing him in the locker room lifts us up.

The Timberwolves currently sit three games back of the Western Conference’s eight-seed and have publicly said as recently as this month that they’re committed to making the playoffs. Holding on to Rubio, as opposed to turning over the offense to rookie Kris Dunn or reserve Tyus Jones, may help them get there.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets should target Jazz forward Gordon Hayward and be happy that they didn’t land Paul George or DeMarcus Cousins, writes Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. Kiszla suggests that the club could pursue Hayward as a replacement for pending free agent Danilo Gallinari.
  • Despite having to master a new playbook in the middle of a season and pack enough items to live off of in a new city, the newly acquired Thunder players brought over in Oklahoma City’s Thursday deal are adjusting just fine. “They have a great culture here that they’ve built, starting at the top,” Doug McDermott told Brett Dawson of the Oklahoman. “It makes it really easy for guys like me and Taj Gibson to fit in.
  • The Jazz held off on tweaking their roster at the trade deadline for fear of messing with their team chemistry. The front office wants to see what the roster is capable of when fully healthy, tweets Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.
  • Count Jazz guard Dante Exum as one Landmark Sports Agency client that will stay with the firm despite Rob Pelinka‘s decision to accept a position as general manager of the Lakers. The guard trusts Pelinka’s people, tweets Andy Larsen of KSL.
  • The Trail Blazers weren’t very active on Thursday, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. “The phones went pretty dead,” general manager Neil Oshey told him. The forward-thinking Blazers did, of course, add Jusuf Nurkic in the days leading up to the deadline, the general manager explained to Cody Sharrett of the team’s official website.
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