Ricky Rubio

Timberwolves Trade Ricky Rubio To Cavaliers

AUGUST 3: The Timberwolves and Cavaliers have officially announced the trade in a pair of press releases.

The timing is curious, since the free agency moratorium is underway and trades can’t be formally completed during that time. However, the NBA’s official transactions log suggests the deal was finalized on Monday, presumably before the new league year began.

The announcement comes on the heels of Rubio racking up 38 points for the Spanish national team in a losing effort against Team USA on Tuesday.

JULY 29: The Timberwolves have agreed to trade Ricky Rubio to the Cavaliers in exchange for Taurean Prince, a 2022 second-round pick, and cash, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski’s original report stated that the second-round pick and cash were going from Minnesota to Cleveland, but according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Wolves are actually acquiring those assets along with Prince.

Subsequent reporting confirms as much — Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets that the Cavs are sending $2.5MM to Minnesota as part of the deal, while Wojnarowski tweets that the pick changing hands is the Wizards’ 2022 second-rounder, which had been controlled by Cleveland.

It’s an interesting deal for the Cavaliers, who already have Darius Garland running the point and Collin Sexton acting as a secondary ball-handler. Giving up assets for Rubio doesn’t necessarily mean the Cavs have to move on from one of those players (likely Sexton), since the team needs depth at the point and was seeking a reliable veteran, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Still, that added depth would make it easier for Cleveland to move Sexton, who has been the subject of some trade rumors this month.

Rubio, who is currently representing Spain at the Tokyo Olympics, averaged a career-low 8.6 PPG for Minnesota in 2020/21 and shot just .388/.308/.867 in 68 games (26.1 MPG). However, the 30-year-old remains an effective play-maker (6.4 APG) and received praise for his leadership of the young Wolves.

The Timberwolves will create some extra financial flexibility below the luxury tax line as a result of this deal, as Rubio is on a $17.8MM expiring contract, while Prince is making $13MM in the last year of his contract. The team now projects to be about $5.4MM below the tax, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

It’s unclear if Minnesota intends to keep Prince, but the team was lacking in reliable forward depth this past season, so the former Baylor standout could help out there. He’s a career 37.0% three-point shooter and knocked down 40.0% of his attempts from beyond the arc for Brooklyn and Cleveland in 2020/21.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, J. Butler, Mudiay, Favors

The Timberwolves‘ second stint with former No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio wasn’t the fairy tale reunion either side hoped for, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic in a breakdown of the team’s trade with Cleveland and what it means for the Wolves moving forward.

While the Wolves are receiving solid three-and-D wing Taurean Prince as the return for Rubio, Krawczynski writes that Prince isn’t viewed as the solution to the team’s long-running search for a starting power forward, but rather as a rotation wing.

One benefit to the deal is an added $4.8MM in cap flexibility, which could allow the Wolves to use their entire taxpayer mid-level exception while possibly adding last year’s first round pick Leandro Bolmaro as well. Kracwzynski writes that the team explored trades into the draft and for Hawksforward Danilo Gallinari, but in the end were satisfied with the return of Prince.

We have more news from around the Northwest Division:

  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details the Jazz‘s excitement upon trading down in the draft to land Baylor guard Jared Butler with the 40th pick, as well as two future second rounders. Butler, whom Utah was initially targeting in the first round, is viewed as someone who can play off the bench immediately, or even fill in should the Jazz lose Mike Conley to free agency.
  • Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will play for the Trail Blazers during Summer League, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The former No. 7 pick has bounced around the league since being traded from the team that drafted him, the Nuggets, to the Knicks in 2018, but the 25-year-old will be looking for a chance to get his career back on track with a strong showing in Las Vegas.
  • Derrick Favors was caught off-guard by the trade that will send him from the Jazz to the Thunder,writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. “Honestly, I’m still trying to process what happened,” Favors said. “It was tough to go to New Orleans, but I thought that there was a chance that I would come back to Utah. Now, I know this is it. So, there’s a lot to think about and a lot to work out.”

Trade Rumors: Rubio, Ball, Knicks, Wizards, Simmons

Ricky Rubio is busy playing the point for Spain in the Olympics but a number of NBA teams are doing due diligence on a potential trade for the veteran point man, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. The Celtics, Clippers and Lakers are keeping tabs on the Timberwolves guard. Rubio has a $17.8MM expiring contract for next season.

We have more trade chatter from around the league:

  • The Pelicans and Pacers discussed a Lonzo Ball deal, Ian Begley of SNY.TV reports, though it’s unknown if those talks ever reached an advanced level. Ball will be a free agent, so a deal would only be possible via sign-and-trade.
  • In the same piece, Begley writes that the Knicks plan to maintain enough cap flexibility to pursue top free agents in 2022, a class that could include Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal.
  • The Wizards have received calls on their best young players, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington reports. Those players are presumably Rui Hachimura, Daniel Gafford and Deni Avdija. The front office could be motivated to move one or more of those players to appease Beal in a win-now scenario.
  • There’s been plenty of speculation about a potential Ben Simmons trade. The latest from Mark Medina of USA Today (Twitter link) is that the Sixers are looking either for an All-Star talent in return or a starting-caliber player along with multiple draft picks.

Point Guard Rumors: Paul, Conley, Lowry, Dinwiddie, More

After watching Chris Paul play a key role in turning the Suns into a legit title contender in 2020/21, teams around the NBA are weighing whether they might be able to replicate that success by adding a veteran guard such as Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, or Paul himself this summer, writes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Those three point guards will be free agents and will headline a talented group that also includes Lonzo Ball, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dennis Schröder, and Derrick Rose, among others.

According to both Windhorst and Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, there’s a belief around the NBA that the Jazz will be able to re-sign Conley this offseason, even if they have to shed some salary to comfortably do so. However, they’ll face competition for the point guard. Windhorst and Fischer identify the Mavericks as one team expected to be in the hunt for Conley.

As for Paul, he has indicated he’s prepared to turn down his $44MM+ player option for 2021/22, but it’s possible that’s a leverage play, writes Windhorst. If the Suns and Paul are interested in continuing their relationship, a scenario in which CP3 picks up his player option and then signs an extension at a lesser rate may be in both sides’ best interest. If Paul does opt out and seeks a new team, he’ll be limited by the Over-38 rule to a three-year contract.

Here are a few more notes on the point guard free agent market:

  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer confirms a Miami Herald report that stated Kyle Lowry is expected to be seeking a three-year, $90MM contract in free agency.
  • The Knicks will be among Lowry’s suitors and are willing to offer him somewhere between $20-30MM per year for two seasons, according to Pompey, who says that Spencer Dinwiddie and swingman Evan Fournier are among New York’s other potential targets. Dinwiddie is thought to be seeking $25MM annually, while Fournier is after $18MM per year, says Pompey. I’m skeptical that Dinwiddie, especially, will achieve that goal.
  • Dinwiddie is viewed as a likely Plan B for the Pelicans if they’re unable to land Lowry, according to Fischer. As Windhorst notes, current New Orleans GM Trajan Langdon previously worked in Brooklyn’s front office during Dinwiddie’s time with the Nets.
  • League executives believe the Pelicans are willing to let Lonzo Ball go if they find another option they like or if Ball receives an aggressive offer sheet, writes Windhorst.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan, who had success with Dennis Schröder in Oklahoma City, is thought to be interested in a potential reunion with the Lakers guard, according to Windhorst.
  • Timberwolves veteran Ricky Rubio is among the point guards whose names have been floated on the trade market so far, per Windhorst.

Timberwolves Notes: Draft, Simmons, Sikka

The Timberwolves have traded away their picks in this month’s draft but they’re still preparing as if they’ll wind up participating, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. They’re co-hosting pre-draft workouts this weekend with the Jazz.

“Just because we don’t have a pick on whatever day today is doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a pick on draft night,” team president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said. “The worst thing you can do is be caught unprepared and we’re fortunate we have players on our roster that are valued by other teams. We have opportunities to jump in the draft at very strategic levels and that’s a testament to our players, the value they have around the league.”

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Rumors surfaced late last month that the team would explore a trade with the Sixers for Ben Simmons. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic explores how Simmons might fit in and what it would take to bring him to Minnesota. The Timberwolves could match up salaries by including Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley in a deal, but it’s likely Philadelphia would ask for D’Angelo Russell and/or future first-rounders, Krawczynski notes.
  • Robby Sikka has resigned from his position as the Wolves’ VP of basketball operations and wellness, Krawczynski writes in a separate story. Rosas hired Sikka two years ago to improve the team’s ability to stay healthy, revamp its player nutrition program and work with head athletic trainer Gregg Farnam to oversee the rehabilitation of injuries.
  • Forward Juan Hernangomez, who had been preparing to represent Spain in the Olympics, dislocated his left shoulder during an exhibition game and will miss the Tokyo games. Get the details here.

Timberwolves Reportedly Have Trade Interest In Ben Simmons

The Sixers, who are weighing what changes to make to their roster this offseason, continue to insist they’re committed Ben Simmons for the long term. However, if the 76ers seriously explore a potential Simmons trade this offseason, the Timberwolves are among the teams expected to show interest, Darren Wolfson of SKOR North said on The Scoop (audio link).

“I texted with somebody that knows Ben Simmons incredibly well (and) has working knowledge of all things NBA,” Wolfson said. “My text the other day said, ‘How badly do the Wolves want to trade for Ben Simmons?’ This individual sent me a text back, it was one word: ‘Badly.’

“Make no mistake, the Wolves have trade interest in Ben Simmons,” Wolfson continued. “… (President of basketball operations) Gersson Rosas is going to show – or already has, going back many months – interest in Ben Simmons.”

As Kurt Helin of NBC Sports writes, the Wolves probably aren’t parting with Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Edwards in any deal this offseason. That would leave D’Angelo Russell as the likely centerpiece in any offer for Simmons. Alternatively, Minnesota could package Malik Beasley and Ricky Rubio in order to put together enough salary to match Simmons’ $33MM+ cap hit.

However, even if the Wolves were to add draft picks to their offers, it’s unclear how appealing those offers would be to Daryl Morey and the Sixers. Should the 76ers move their three-time All-Star, they’d want to make a deal that would improve the team’s chances of competing for a title in 2022, rather than one heavy on draft picks. Morey would likely aim higher than a package headed by Russell or Beasley/Rubio.

Still, it’s an interesting idea, particularly given the Wolves’ quest to add a power forward this summer. While Simmons has been considered a point guard for the majority of his NBA career, the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up is more than capable of guarding threes and fours, which would make him an intriguing fit in Minnesota.

Olympic Notes: Spain, Simmons, Nigeria, Turkey, Garland

Veteran center Pau Gasol, who has represented Spain in four Olympic tournaments so far, remains on track to be part of the team in Tokyo, per an Associated Press report. Gasol was one of 18 players included on Spain’s preliminary roster for the Tokyo games, joining his brother – Lakers center Marc Gasol – and Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio.

Timberwolves forward Juan Hernangomez, Pelicans big man Willy Hernangomez, and projected first-round pick Usman Garuba are among the other notable names on Spain’s preliminary roster, according to The Associated Press.

Here’s more on the Tokyo Olympics:

Northwest Notes: Rubio, Micic, Clarkson, Nuggets

When Ricky Rubio was acquired by the Timberwolves during the 2020 offseason, it was billed as a homecoming for a veteran point guard who began his NBA career in Minnesota. However, speaking to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Rubio admitted that the unusual circumstances surrounding the 2020/21 season prevented him from really reconnecting with Wolves fans.

“It didn’t feel like I came back to Minnesota,” Rubio said. “That’s one of the things that hurts the most, being at Target Center and not being able to see real fans and feel the love they have had for me. It’s something that I missed.”

While Rubio should get the opportunity to be around fans in Minnesota next season, he’s entering a contract year and could be a candidate to be traded again this offseason if the Wolves want to shake up their roster. For his part, the Spaniard told Krawczynski that he’d love to remain with the team — as long as it keeps taking positive steps toward contention.

“I don’t want to be on a team where there is no direction, there is no hope we can really take the next step,” he said. “I believe we can take the next step and really be a solid playoff team. That’s why when I got traded to Minnesota I was excited. I thought this was the year. We wasted a year, but there is no more years to waste. If not, the rebuilding process is gonna start over again and I don’t think that’s a fun part to be a part of.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Thunder draft-and-stash prospect Vasilije Micic has been voted the EuroLeague’s 2020/21 Most Valuable Player, the league announced on Wednesday. Micic, who averaged 16.3 PPG and 4.8 APG in 38 EuroLeague games for Anadolu Efes is a candidate to come stateside for the 2021/22 season.
  • As Sarah Todd of The Deseret News details, Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson was always reluctant to accept a bench role earlier in his NBA career, viewing it as a slight when he was removed from the starting lineup during his days with the Lakers. However, Clarkson has embraced his reserve role over the years and it paid off in a big way in 2020/21 with a Sixth Man of the Year award.
  • The Nuggets are increasing the capacity at Ball Arena to 10,500 fans, the team announced in a press release. Denver had previously been allowing an attendance of up to 7,750.

Wolves Notes: Bolmaro, Finch, Rubio, Edwards, Lore

During an appearance on The Cake Show on KFAN in Minnesota (audio link), Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas strongly hinted that the team plans to sign 2020 first-round pick Leandro Bolmaro for the 2021/22 season.

Explaining why the Wolves feel as if they’ve prepared for the possibility of losing their first-round selection (to the Warriors) in 2021, Rosas didn’t mention Bolmaro by name, but suggested that last year’s No. 23 overall pick could help fill the hole created by not having a ’21 first-rounder.

“If we don’t (keep) the pick, we’ll have some financial flexibility,” Rosas said. “(And) we’ve got a player that we drafted last year who will come in next year.”

Bolmaro, an Argentinian guard, remained with FC Barcelona after being drafted by the Wolves last November. He was one of three players selected by Minnesota in the 2020 draft — the other two, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, are on this year’s roster.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • During that same KFAN appearance (audio link), Rosas also spoke about the impact Chris Finch has made since taking over as the Timberwolves’ head coach earlier this season and raved about Ricky Rubio‘s influence on the team’s young players.
  • Jon Krawczysnki and Britt Robson of The Athletic discuss where things stand on the Timberwolves, exploring Anthony Edwards‘ potential, Ricky Rubio‘s future with the franchise, and which areas of the roster most need to be addressed this offseason.
  • Michael Rand of The Star Tribune takes a look at the 15 players under contract with the Timberwolves, considering which ones are part of the team’s future and which ones might not be.
  • While Alex Rodriguez is well-known among sports fans, his business partner – tech entrepreneur Marc Lore – is better known for his ventures outside of sports. Nick Williams of The Star Tribune lays out what Wolves fans should know about the club’s potential co-owner.

Wolves Notes: Trade Deadline, Gordon, McDaniels, Collins, Power Forward

The Timberwolves allowed the trade deadline to pass without making a move, opting not to make a trade just for the sake of doing so, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said.

Minnesota was most heavily linked to forward Aaron Gordon, who was moved from Orlando to Denver on deadline day. The team has struggled with injuries and currently holds the league’s worst record at 10-34.

“You don’t make a trade for the sake of making a trade,” Rosas explained, as relayed by Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. “We haven’t seen this group together enough starting with our best two players and everybody else. That played a big part in it. We want to see what we have in order to make the best-educated decisions we can make.”

As a whole, an astounding 23 teams were involved in trades on deadline day this year, though Minnesota naturally wasn’t one of them.

Here are some other notes from Minnesota today:

  • A significant hurdle in the Wolves’ talks to acquire Gordon was the availability of rookie Jaden McDaniels, Hine writes. Minnesota and Orlando held discussions for multiple weeks, but Orlando reportedly wanted McDaniels in a potential agreement. Rosas and his team ultimately balked at the idea of parting ways with the 20-year-old.
  • Don’t expect the Wolves to stop monitoring Hawks big man John Collins in the coming months, Hine contends. Collins will be a restricted free agent this summer and received interest from Minnesota until the deadline passed. The 23-year-old has averaged 18.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 30.6 minutes per game this season.
  • The power forward position remains an area of concern for the franchise, Hine relays. What remains to be seen, however, is whether the solution will come internally or externally. “The one thing we don’t want to do is plug a long-term hole with a short-term solution that’s not going to be there when we need it,” Rosas said. “So we’ll continue investing in and developing our young players to see if the answer is there. Jaden gives us a lot of excitement and a lot of optionality there, but it’s a need.”
  • A source tells Hine that the Timberwolves could have made trades involving Ed Davis and Ricky Rubio, but opted against it.