JULY 8: The Cavaliers have officially signed Rubio, the team announced in a press release. As we previously relayed, the team used its mid-level exception to complete the deal after a sign-and-trade didn’t materialize.
JULY 1: The Cavaliers have reached an agreement to bring back free agent point guard Ricky Rubio on a three-year, $18.4MM contract, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The third year will be partially guaranteed, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
Based on the financial details reported by Haynes, it appears Cleveland will use a portion of its mid-level exception to sign Rubio. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) was the first to report the two sides were nearing a deal.
Cleveland acquired Rubio from Minnesota in a 2021 offseason trade and he played a key role in the Cavs’ first-half success this past season. Despite serving primarily as a reserve, the 31-year-old averaged a career-high 13.1 PPG to go along with 6.6 APG and 4.1 RPG in 34 games (28.5 MPG).
However, Rubio’s season came to an early end when he tore his left ACL in December. The Cavs subsequently used his expiring contract as a salary-matching piece in their trade for Caris LeVert, resulting in Rubio finishing the season with the Pacers.
There had been reports throughout the offseason indicating that there was mutual interest in a reunion between the Spaniard and the Cavs — that reunion has now come to fruition.
ACL tears can sideline NBA players for a full calendar year or more, and even when they return to the court, it often takes them some time to get back to full speed, so expectations for Rubio in 2022/23 – especially in the first half – should be tempered.
Given that Cleveland agreed to a three-year deal though, it seems as if the team is counting on him to be around for the long haul and will be patient as he recovers from his knee injury and gets his feet back under him.
Once Rubio is healthy, he figures to once again slot into the backup point guard role behind All-Star guard Darius Garland.