Ricky Rubio

And-Ones: West, Finals Predictions, Spain, Hezonja

Former NBA guard Delonte West was arrested in Virginia on Thursday morning on misdemeanor charges of violating the conditions of his release and resisting arrest, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reports. West is being held on a $2,000 bond at the Fairfax County Detention Center. An arraignment is scheduled for Friday morning.

Local police say they spotted West around 1 a.m. ET and attempted to serve a warrant. West allegedly fled and was found unresponsive after police lost track of him during the pursuit, per Holmes.

According to the Faifax County police, West was administered Narcan — which is used to treat overdoses — but it didn’t have the desired effect. Narcan was administered a second time after West was transported to a hospital, and the second dose was effective.

The former St. Joseph’s guard discussed his struggles with bipolar disorder while he was playing and he has battled substance abuse in recent years, Holmes notes.

West, 40, played eight NBA seasons from 2004-12. In 432 career regular season games, he averaged 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 27.4 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • While the Celtics are the betting favorites to win the NBA Finals in 2023/24, ESPN’s panel of experts believes the Mavericks will emerge victorious and claim their second championship. Nine voters selected Dallas, with eight going for Boston, so it was a very slim margin.
  • The Spanish basketball federation announced its preliminary 22-player roster ahead of the country’s Olympic qualifying tournament this summer, per Eurohoops. While the team features several former NBA players, Santi Aldama (Grizzlies) and Usman Garuba (Warriors) are the only two who finished the 2023/24 season on 15-man rosters. Former NBA guards Ricky Rubio and Sergio Rodriguez are among the noteworthy players who are not on Spain’s 22-man roster.
  • Former NBA wing Mario Hezonja, who is on Croatia’s preliminary roster for its qualifying tournament in Greece, is nearing a contract extension with Real Madrid, per Ramón Álvarez de Mon of La Galerna (Twitter link). The fifth pick of the 2015 draft, Hezojna last played in the NBA in 2019/20. A report in March said the 29-year-old was “aggressively exploring” the viability of a return to the league.

And-Ones: Rubio, Williams, Porzingis, Bertans, Parity

After retiring from the NBA in January, Ricky Rubio signed with Barcelona in February on a one-year contract. The longtime NBA point guard is uncertain about his basketball future after his Spanish team lost to Real Madrid in the Liga ACB semifinals, Eurohoops.net relays. Rubio said he’ll need a few weeks to clear his head and decide what he wants to do next.

These months, I’ve felt strange; I’ve wanted to change some things,” Rubio said. “Coming in the middle of the season is not easy, my way of being, more reserved and not feeling 100%. I don’t think I’ve been everything I expected, but I didn’t have any expectations either, but it’s clear that the balance is not good.”

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Trevion Williams is reportedly in advanced talks with Barcelona, according to Sportando’s Alessandro Maggi. There is already a “pre-agreement” in place, pending the final decision on the hiring of the new coach. Williams, who played collegiately at Purdue, was waived by the Warriors during their 2022 training camp. He played for a German team this past season.
  • Latvia’s national team has unveiled its preliminary 24-man roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament, according to Eurohoops.net. Kristaps Porzingis heads the list of players, which also includes another NBA notable, Davis Bertans. Porzingis stated on social media last week that he was looking forward to playing with his national team this summer.
  • Parity has become the new norm for the NBA, The Athletic’s John Hollinger writes. The championship continues to change hands every year and lower seeds have a legitimate chance to make a deep run. Hollinger concludes that if a contender is good enough to get to the second round, anything can happen.

And-Ones: Olympic Qualifiers, Rubio, R. Miller, All-Star Weekend

FIBA has officially announced the schedule for this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournaments, which will determine the final four men’s basketball teams who will compete for gold in Paris. Each of the four tournaments will tip off on July 2, with the finals taking place on July 7.

The four qualifying tournaments are being played in Spain, Puerto Rico, Latvia, and Greece, with 24 teams vying to advance to the 2024 Olympics. The results of those tournaments will determine whether we get the opportunity to see a handful of notable NBA stars – such as Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and Luka Doncic (Slovenia) – playing in Paris.

A total of 12 men’s basketball teams will compete at the Olympics and eight of those spots have already been claimed. Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Serbia, South Sudan, and the U.S. have punched their tickets to Paris. Details on the other 24 teams competing in the qualifying tournaments – and how they’ve been split up – can be found right here.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Ricky Rubio may make his season debut with Barcelona on March 1 when the team faces AS Monaco in EuroLeague play, as Kevin Martorano of Sportando relays. Rubio announced his retirement from the NBA in January, but remains on track to make a comeback in his home country, having signed with Barcelona earlier this month. Teammate Alex Abrines mentioned March 1 as a possible target date for the veteran point guard.
  • TNT Sports and analyst Reggie Miller have reached an agreement on a multiyear contract extension, according to a press release from the company. Miller is in his 19th season with TNT Sports and will continue to be part of NBA broadcasts for the network for the foreseeable future.
  • A current Pacer and a former Pacer earned honors at the secondary events at All-Star weekend in Indianapolis. Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin was named the Rising Stars MVP on Friday while Magic two-way guard Trevelin Queen earned MVP honors in Sunday’s G League Up Next game (Twitter links via the NBA). Queen spent most of the 2022/23 season on a two-way contract with Indiana.

Ricky Rubio Signs With Barcelona

FEBRUARY 6: Rubio has officially signed a rest-of-season contract with Barcelona, the team announced today in a press release.

The veteran point guard isn’t prepared to return to the court at this point. However, the EuroLeague has a February 7 registration date for players changing teams or being imported from other leagues, so if Rubio had signed sometime after Wednesday, he wouldn’t been eligible to play in the EuroLeague this season. Now he’ll have the opportunity to do so if he decides to move forward with his comeback.

JANUARY 29: After retiring from the NBA earlier this month, Ricky Rubio will begin training with Barcelona as he begins his basketball comeback, according to Reuters. The Spanish club announced that he will join them for a workout on Tuesday, and Rubio confirmed on Twitter that he is ready to return to basketball after dealing with mental health issues.

“After several weeks of thinking and dedicated work on both my mind and body, I see myself with the desire and strength to see how I react with a ball in my hands,” Rubio wrote. “My next step has been to ask FC Barcelona if I could, with no obligations and without interrupting their plans for the season, train with them.”

The 33-year-old point guard spent 11 years in the NBA, but he missed significant parts of the 2021/22 and ’22/23 seasons while recovering from a torn ACL. He announced in August that he was taking a break from basketball to concentrate on his mental health, which meant he wouldn’t represent Spain in the FIBA World Cup and he wouldn’t join the Cavaliers for training camp or the start of the NBA season.

Rubio agreed to a buyout with Cleveland in early January that effectively ended his NBA career. He was owed about $3.5MM for the rest of this season and had a $4.25MM partial guarantee for 2024/25, and he reportedly gave up $5.4MM in the agreement.

Rubio was a teenage star with Barcelona before coming to the NBA, leading the team to two Spanish Cups, one league title and one European championship. He was selected by the Timberwolves with the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, but didn’t begin his NBA career until two years later.

Rubio earned first-team All-Rookie honors in 2012 and spent six years in Minnesota before being traded to Utah in 2017. He also spent a year with Phoenix and returned to the Wolves for a season before finishing his career in Cleveland. He appeared in 698 total games, making 603 starts, and posted career averages of 10.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists per night.

In an interview with Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Rubio talked about the difficulties he faced in returning to Spain after the Cavaliers were eliminated from last season’s playoffs. Rubio couldn’t identify the cause of his depression, saying it went beyond the difficulties of his lingering knee injury, but he called July 30 “one of the toughest nights of my life. My mind went to a dark place.”

“I was lost. I didn’t know who I was. I had to rebuild myself,” he said. “I think eventually a lot of people have that point in their life that has to rebuild them because they have lost the focus on the purpose of their life. Luckily, I stopped it in time.”

Wolves Notes: Defense, Status, Jones, Rubio

Following consecutive losses for the first time this season, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch decided to show his team on film how it defended when playing at peak performance, rather than the mistakes made against the Knicks and Pelicans. It paid off, as Minnesota rolled to a 122-95 win over Houston on Friday night.

“It’s good to see it too, to be like, ‘OK, that’s fun,’ center Rudy Gobert told Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “When we play like that, it looks good. That’s the team that we want to be. That’s the team people fear.”

The Timberwolves’ defensive rating of 108.3 is tops in the league.

We have more on the Wolves:

  • Those back-to-back losses showed Minnesota that it now has a target on its back, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive press over the last month or so, and teams are going to come in to give us their best shot,” guard Mike Conley said. “They want to see what we’re made of. They want to see who we are. And we can’t let all that positivity on things we’ve had go our way the last couple of months make us complacent.”
  • Former Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones is having the best offensive season of his career with the woeful Wizards and Jim Souhan of the Tribune argues that Minnesota should pursue a trade for Jones to solve one glaring issue — the need for an experienced, efficient backup point guard.
  • In a subscriber-only story written by Hine, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns shared stories about former teammate Ricky Rubio, who announced his retirement from the NBA. “I got so many moments with Ricky. I’m blessed to be able to say that,” Towns said. “Ricky has done a lot for me as a basketball player, and I’m forever grateful for that. But what he’s meant to me as a man and making me a better man, a better human being, is something that is priceless. It’s something that truly is why he’s special to so many of us in the NBA community.”

Ricky Rubio Gave Up $5.4MM In Cavs Buyout

Veteran point guard Ricky Rubio gave up $5.4MM in his buyout agreement with the Cavaliers, according to reports from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Keith Smith of Spotrac, and Bobby Marks of ESPN (all Twitter links).

That’s a significant portion of the remaining guaranteed money that was owed to Rubio, who initially had a salary of $6,146,342 for 2023/24 and a $4,250,000 partial guarantee for ’24/25 (his full cap hit for next season would have been $6,439,025).

While Rubio had earned a prorated portion of this season’s salary, he was still owed about $3.5MM in 2023/24, along with his $4.25MM guarantee for next season, for a total of $7.75MM. He’ll receive approximately $2.35MM of that total, but the Cavaliers will recoup the rest, giving the team some extra cap flexibility this season and next.

As Marks notes, Rubio’s new cap hit this season is approximately $3.7MM and he’ll be on Cleveland’s books for about $1.3MM in ’24/25. The Cavaliers’ team salary this season had been about $752K below the luxury tax line prior to the buyout, but that cushion has increased to approximately $3.2MM, Marks adds.

That extra flexibility puts the Cavs in position to immediately sign one or two players to their roster to fill out their 15-man squad. Now that the 10-day contract window has opened, Cleveland may opt for short-term additions for now, maintaining some roster flexibility ahead of the trade deadline, but the team technically has enough breathing room below the tax to add two minimum-salary players for the rest of the season.

Since teams are only permitted to carry fewer than 14 players on standard contracts for up to two weeks at a time, Cleveland will have to make at least one roster addition by January 18, two weeks after officially parting ways with Rubio.

Central Notes: Beasley, Giannis, Rubio, Pistons

Appearing on a B/R Live stream with TNT and Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes (Twitter link), Bucks guard Malik Beasley said he bypassed offers worth more money from the Lakers and Mavericks to sign with Milwaukee.

Beasley opened up about his experience in free agency, saying it was “tough” because he closed out the year on a rough note, averaging just 3.0 points per game in the playoffs with Los Angeles after averaging 11.1 PPG during the regular season. The 27-year-old guard said the Lakers wanted to re-sign him on a deal worth about $6MM but explained there were some unknowns regarding his role with Austin Reaves re-signing early in free agency.

Beasley also said he had an offer from the Mavericks worth between $3-6MM, but was again unsure of what his role would be, given that Dallas had a roster filled with guards and shooters.

The seventh-year guard ended up signing with the Bucks on a one-year, minimum contract for a chance to have a bigger role.

“[Bucks general manager] Jon [Horst] is such a great person,” Beasley said. “We talk a lot and he was like ‘You have an opportunity to start here, you have a chance to win a championship.’ And I think for me, most importantly, [the Bucks have] some veterans around [the] team. Most of the teams I have been on, aside from LeBron and AD, they’ve been young.

Beasley earned a prominent role with Milwaukee right away, starting all 33 of his appearances this year. He’s averaging 11.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per night while shooting a career highs of 48.8% from the field and 46.9% on three-pointers (on 6.3 attempts per game). He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

We have more notes from the Central Division:

  • Opening up about his time with the Lakers, Beasley blames himself for how his tenure in L.A. ended (Twitter link via Haynes). “It was more of the past things that happened in my life that caused me to not play at my best,” the Bucks wing said.
  • Out of the Bucks‘ 10 losses this season, four have come at the hands of the Pacers. Giannis Antetokounmpo is bothered by those losses, writes The Athletic’s Eric Nehm. “Now, when you go back home and you sleep and you wake up, you think about it,” Antetokounmpo said. “Now, when you go back and work out, you think about it. In the All-Star break, when you’re gonna be on an exotic beach with your family, I hope you think about it, you know? … But at the end of the day, it’s good because it gives us time to fix things.
  • Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell had a feeling former teammate Ricky Rubio was going to retire, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor writes. “I feel like he could breathe,” Mitchell said while paying tribute to Rubio. “I’m not speaking for him. But I feel like it’s just one of those things where it’s kind of like that indecision of what you want to do can be a lot. I’m just happy that he finally has time to feel like he can breathe and go pick up his son from school and be with his family in Spain. He’s been playing this game professionally at the highest of levels and had this expectation of himself since he was a teenager.
  • Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff also paid tribute to Rubio, as detailed in a story from ESPN. “I owe Ricky a debt of gratitude that there’s only a couple of guys who I could say at this point have had the impact on me that way,” Bickerstaff said. “He helped us, in a brief period of time, turn this organization into what you see in front of you. His presence allowed me to coach the team in a certain way where no one was too big to sacrifice.
  • The Pistons are widely expected to make a trade of some sort after setting the NBA record for consecutive losses in a season, and The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III thinks Detroit will add some veterans around the margins. In his mailbag, Edwards confirms there’s great interest league-wide in Pistons vet Bojan Bogdanovic but says he doesn’t expect Detroit to trade him just to trade him. The Pistons are in a difficult position, Edwards writes, because the young players who would bring in a difference-making haul are guys the team should build around.

Central Notes: Mitchell, Rubio, Bucks, Middleton, Toppin

After Darius Garland and Evan Mobley went down last month with relatively significant injuries, there was some speculation about whether the Cavaliers might become more open to the idea of trading Donovan Mitchell. However, multiple reporters have since shot down that speculation, with Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com becoming the latest to do so on an episode of the Wine and Gold Talk podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype).

“My sources tell me that the Cavs have zero interest in trading Donovan Mitchell,” Fedor said. “They haven’t even thought about that. In fact, my sources tell me that there are members of this front office that are sitting here today wondering why the hell people are even talking about the possibility of trading Donovan Mitchell.”

As Fedor observes, despite an up-and-down first half and their current banged-up roster, the Cavaliers have a 19-15 record, which puts them just one game out of the No. 4 spot in the East. That’s about where they were expected to be entering the season, and they believe they have the potential to improve beyond that, so they’re not “even interested in listening to what teams are going to offer them” for Mitchell. On top of that, Fedor says, Mitchell himself doesn’t appear to have any interest in a move.

“I’ve talked to Donovan about this multiple times, he is happy right now where he is at,” Fedor said. “He is happy being a Cleveland Cavalier. He believes in this team. He believes in this roster. He helped to recruit Georges Niang and Max Strus because he knew after going through that playoff series against the Knicks that the Cavs, if they were going to take the next step as an organization, needed to improve their shooting and their floor spacing. And he’s looking at it saying, ‘When Darius Garland and Evan Mobley coming back, let’s see how far we can take this team.'”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In a press release confirming the Cavaliersbuyout agreement with Ricky Rubio, president of basketball operations Koby Altman thanked the veteran point guard for his contributions to the franchise. “Ricky Rubio embodied everything a franchise would want from such an accomplished player, who helped instill a confidence and leadership quality that still resonates within our team,” Altman said. “We wish Ricky nothing but the best and remain supportive of his decision to continue focusing on his mental health.” As Fedor tweets, Altman also lauded Rubio for the impact he had on the team’s younger players.
  • The Bucks hosted a veteran free agent workout on Monday, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who says the group seemed to consist of candidates for two-way deals. Lindell Wigginton, TyTy Washington, and Marques Bolden are Milwaukee’s current two-way players; they’ve combined to play just 17 total minutes this season.
  • Bucks forward Khris Middleton, who underwent offseason knee surgery, played in both games of a back-to-back set on Wednesday and Thursday for the first time since April 2022, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic notes (Twitter links). Head coach Adrian Griffin continues to take a conservative approach to Middleton’s workload though, not bringing him back in the second half of Thursday’s win after he was effective in 15 first half minutes. “We just wanted to play him, see how he responded and I think he’s in a good place and we want to keep him in a good place and then we’ll just see how he’s feeling in the morning,” Griffin said, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • The offseason acquisition of Obi Toppin continues to pay off for the Pacers, with head coach Rick Carlisle taking the opportunity after Wednesday’s win over Milwaukee to praise the fourth-year forward for how he’s adjusted to being removed from the starting lineup. It’s hard to put into words how impressed I am with Obi Toppin as a young man. He just is all about the team,” Carlisle said (Twitter links via Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star). “He’s raised his level since coming off the bench. … That kind of character and commitment to the group is what it’s going to take.”

Ricky Rubio Agrees To Buyout, Announces NBA Retirement

11:28am: Rubio has announced his retirement from the NBA in a statement on social media (Twitter link).

9:31am: Ricky Rubio has reached an agreement on a contract buyout with the Cavaliers, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The move will likely lead to the end of the 33-year-old guard’s playing career, at least in the NBA.

Terms of the buyout haven’t been made available, but Bobby Marks of ESPN notes that Rubio has about $3.5MM left on his $6.15MM contract for this season (Twitter link). Rubio is also owed $6.44MM for 2024/25, but only $4.25MM of next season’s salary is guaranteed.

Rubio and the team began discussing an eventual buyout last month. He hasn’t played this season, announcing in August that he needed to pause his career for mental health reasons. Rubio has remained in his native Spain and there was reportedly little expectation that he was planning to make an NBA return.

Cleveland is $752K below the luxury tax, according to Marks, so any savings from Rubio’s contract will create financial flexibility. The Cavs are already carrying one open roster spot due to tax concerns, and they’re currently shorthanded because of long-term injuries to Darius GarlandEvan Mobley, and Ty Jerome. Teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts on Friday, so that may be an option until those players return.

Rubio emerged as a star in Spain as a teenager and was selected by Minnesota with the fifth pick in the 2009 draft. He played for four teams in his 12-year career and averaged 10.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 698 total games.

The Cavaliers originally acquired Rubio in the summer of 2021, but a torn ACL ended his season after 34 games and he was sent to Indiana to help match salaries in the Caris LeVert trade. He re-signed with Cleveland in 2022, but was still slowed by the injury and was limited to 33 games last season.

Cavs, Ricky Rubio Discuss Possible Parting Of Ways

12:40pm: Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com confirms that the Cavaliers and Rubio are discussing options, but says they’re not close to reaching a resolution at this time. A trade would be Cleveland’s preferred path, Fedor adds.

12:15pm: The Cavaliers and Ricky Rubio have begun to discuss the possibility of a parting of ways, sources tell Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Rubio hasn’t been with the Cavs at all this season after announcing in August that he was pausing his playing career for mental health reasons. The veteran point guard, who remains in Spain, isn’t expected to play this season and there are “serious doubts” about whether he’ll ever resume his career, according to Charania and Vardon, who hear that the 33-year-old isn’t believed to be engaging in basketball activities to stay sharp.

The Cavs, meanwhile, are dealing with long-term injuries to Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Ty Jerome, and are carrying an open roster spot for luxury tax reasons — they’re only $752K below the tax line, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Freeing up some money and a roster spot would put the team in a better position to address its roster depth, particularly in the backcourt.

Rubio’s cap hit for this season is approximately $6.15MM. He’s on the books for $6.44MM next season, though only $4.25MM of that 2024/25 salary is guaranteed.

As Charania and Vardon detail, a buyout, a waive-and-stretch, and a trade are some of the potential routes the Cavaliers figure to consider. A waive-and-stretch transaction is presumably the least attractive of those options, since the deadline to stretch this season’s salary has passed — Rubio’s $6.15MM cap charge for ’23/24 would remain unchanged, meaning Cleveland wouldn’t create any additional financial flexibility below the tax line.

Negotiating a buyout with Rubio would allow the Cavaliers to reduce his cap hit for this season, but Charania and Vardon note that the team wants to “do right” by the veteran, who is considered a major part of the team’s resurgence in recent years. That suggests the front office may be reluctant to ask him to give up a significant chunk of money.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported earlier today that a trade involving Rubio was a possibility, and it might be the most appealing option if the Cavs can find the right sort of deal. If Cleveland were to attach a draft asset to Rubio and move him in a trade for a player who’s earning less than him, it could clear a path for the club to fill the 15th spot on its roster without surpassing the tax threshold. In that scenario, Rubio’s new team would then be responsible for either negotiating a buyout or simply waiving him.