Ricky Rubio

Wolves Still Looking To Move Ricky Rubio

After completing the night’s biggest blockbuster, the Timberwolves continue to seek a trade involving Ricky Rubio, reports Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (via Twitter). According to Zillgitt, the Wolves would plan on finding a new point guard in free agency if they make a deal involving Rubio.

[RELATED: Bulls agree to trade Jimmy Butler to Timberwolves]

In their deal with the Bulls, the Wolves included last year’s fifth overall pick Kris Dunn, who was viewed as Minnesota’s potential point guard of the future. That would appear to open the door for Rubio to hold the job for the foreseeable future without having to look over his shoulder — particularly since another one of the team’s top ball-handlers, Zach LaVine, was sent to Chicago as well. However, it seems that the Wolves may have their eye on another point guard for next season.

Rubio has been linked to a handful of teams in recent months, including the Mavericks, Pistons, and Knicks. One interesting potential trade partner for the Wolves is Utah. The Jazz were reportedly discussing Rubio earlier in the day, and have enough cap room to acquire the veteran point guard immediately without sending out any salary. If the Jazz were to land Rubio, that would likely pave the way for George Hill‘s exit in free agency.

Jazz Rumors: Beverley, Rubio, Draft, Favors

The Jazz continued this afternoon to engage in talks for Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, who notes (via Twitter) that Utah also has another point guard on its radar.

It’s possible that other point guard is Timberwolves veteran Ricky Rubio. Jody Genessy of The Deseret News reports that Utah has explored the possibility of acquiring Rubio in a trade. However, Genessy acknowledges that there’s no traction on that front for now.

Here are several more Jazz-related rumors:

  • According to Genessey, the Jazz continue to be “very active” in trade talks as they explore the possibility of moving up in the draft. Utah currently has the 24th and 30th overall picks, but wouldn’t mind moving up into the 12-17 range to grab a shooter, sources tell The Deseret News.
  • The Jazz aren’t shopping Derrick Favors, who is entering the final year of his contract, but he is receiving “a lot of interest” from teams, says Genessy. Although Utah would prefer to keep Favors, he’s not entirely off-limits.
  • The Jazz still feel “pretty comfortable” that Gordon Hayward will remain with the team after opting out, but the club doesn’t know for sure, which is complicating offseason planning, writes Genessy.
  • Utah has increased its international budget, making a draft-and-stash prospect a possibility for one of the club’s picks tonights, per Genessy. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated tweets that the Jazz, Spurs, and Nets are all keeping a close eye on international big man Isaiah Hartenstein, who will likely be picked in the 20s tonight.

Trade Rumors: Butler, Rubio, Cavaliers

Jimmy Butler continues to be very much in demand, according to a post from Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Executives from other teams believe the Timberwolves are offering the seventh pick in tonight’s draft as part of a package to get the Bulls to re-open trade talks. Minnesota coach/executive Tom Thibodeau coached Butler in Chicago and is eager for a reunion. The Cavaliers made an unsuccessful offer for Butler, and sources relayed to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that Butler’s preference is to stay with the Bulls. The Timberwolves are also talking to the Pacers about Paul George, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.

There are more trade rumors as the draft draws nearer:

  • The Wolves are once again trying to find takers for Ricky Rubio, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Earlier reports identified the Mavericks and Knicks as teams that might have interest in the sixth-year point guard, who still has two seasons and more than $29MM left on his contract.
  • The Cavaliers are in a “holding pattern” as they await progress on several proposed trades, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). Cleveland’s problem is a shortage of tradable assets and what insiders are describing as a “flooded market” (Twitter link).
  • Cleveland is finding that no one wants to take on the hefty contracts of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson, Amico adds (Twitter link). Shumpert has two years left on his deal at a combined $21.3MM. Smith re-signed last summer and is owed more than $44MM over the next three seasons. Thompson has three years remaining at more than $52.4MM.

Mavs, Timberwolves Discussed Rubio, Matthews

The Mavericks and Timberwolves discussed a potential trade that would have sent Ricky Rubio and the No. 7 pick to Dallas in exchange for Wesley Matthews and the No. 9 pick, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. However, a source described those talks as “dead” at this point, according to MacMahon, who adds that Dallas doesn’t feel any urgency to move up in the draft.

MacMahon’s report isn’t the first to suggest that the Mavs have considered the possibility of acquiring Rubio. We heard over the weekend that Dallas had held in-house talks regarding the availability of the veteran point guard. ESPN’s Chad Ford also suggested this week that the Mavs might explore moving up in the draft and leapfrogging the Knicks — both Dallas and New York (No. 8) reportedly like Frank Ntilikina.

When I examined the Mavs’ upcoming offseason on Monday, I noted that a trade involving Rubio and Matthews might make some sense. Their salaries aren’t far apart, and the Wolves figure to be in the market for a three-and-D wing. As I wrote in that piece, Rubio – who has two years left on his contract – could also serve as a nice stopgap at the point for the Mavs if the team lands a player like Ntilikina or Dennis Smith Jr. in the draft.

At this point, it doesn’t appear the Mavs and Wolves will work out a deal. But if Minnesota does trade Rubio, look for the club to enter the George Hill sweepstakes “full bore” in July, says Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link).

Mavericks Pondering Offer For Ricky Rubio

The Mavericks may decide not to address their need at point guard through the draft, tweets Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. Fisher says the team has conducted “in-house talks” about making an offer to get Ricky Rubio from the Timberwolves.

Rubio, who still has two seasons and more than $29MM left on his contract, was recently the focus of trade talks involving the Knicks, who tried to obtain him before the February deadline. The 26-year-old averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 assists in 75 games this season.

Fisher doesn’t mention what the Mavericks might offer in return, but the move would point toward a strategy of trying to find veteran help for what could be Dirk Nowitzki‘s final season.

The Mavericks have also had discussions about drafting French point guard Frank Ntilikina, Fisher adds. The Knicks have expressed a strong interest in Ntilikina as well and are one pick in front of Dallas at No. 8.

Northwest Notes: Kanter, Rubio, Nuggets, Jazz, Blazers

Enes Kanter remains hopeful that he will be able to reunite with his family in the United States someday, reports Erik Horne of NewsOK.com. Currently, Kanter’s father sits in a Turkey jail, awaiting interrogation on Monday. Two and a half weeks ago, the Thunder big man’s passport was canceled by the Turkish government and he could not gain access to Romania. Homeland Security, a team of lawyers, and the NBA teamed up to arrange his speedy return to the United States, but now Kanter’s father is in trouble. Kanter’s mother, younger sister, and brother also currently remain in Turkey.

“If you’re a kid, woman or child, if you’re speaking out against them, they’ll arrest you,” Kanter said.

Here’s more from the Northwest division:

Knicks Notes: Rubio, Anthony, Oakley

A majority of the past few months has fixated on the Knicks‘ interest Ricky Rubio and several people in the organization want the team to continue pursuing the point guard, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes. Rubio, who will turn 27 in October, was linked to New York up until the trade deadline this past regular season, when a Derrick Rose-for-Rubio swap nearly completed.

Rubio enjoyed arguably his best season ever, posting career-highs in PPG (11.1), APG (9.1), and field goal percentage (40.2 percent) through 75 games. However, Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau has indicated that the team views 2016 draft pick Kris Dunn as a mainstay at point guard. Begley reported last month that the Timberwolves view the aforementioned Rose as a target in free agency, which would displace Rubio and make a trade more likely.

The Knicks — who own the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft — are also currently in talks with the Trail Blazers about potentially acquiring another first-round pick. So whether it’s Rubio or the draft, the Knicks figure to be one of the most active teams in free agency and the trade market this offseason.

  • In a separate piece for ESPN, Begley examines how Carmelo Anthony‘s $8.1 MM trade kicker impacts his value this offseason. The kicker would have different ramifications if he’s dealt on or before certain dates. If Anthony is traded before June 30, the kicker can be spread out over the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons; if he’s traded before July 1,  it’s spread out over two seasons; if he’s traded after July 1, the entire kicker is factored into his 2017/18 salary. Begley’s thorough examination also includes information on how several potentially interested teams would need to free up salary to accommodate the 10-time All-Star.
  • Knicks legend Charles Oakley appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday and rejected a deal to drop charges stemming from a February 8 incident at Madison Square Garden. Once again from Begley, Oakley’s trial date was set for August 4; he was hit with five charges after a physical run-in with MSG security, including two misdemeanors of assault, two misdemeanors of harassment and one misdemeanor of trespassing. Oakley, who played in New York a decade, has historically had a bad relationship with team owner James Dolan, who Oakley accused of unfairly kicking him out of The Garden.

Timberwolves To Pursue Derrick Rose

The Timberwolves plan to target Knicks point guard Derrick Rose in free agency, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

Their interest in the 28-year-old point guard stems from his connection with coach/executive Tom Thibodeau, who coached Rose for five years in Chicago, including his MVP season in 2010/11. The teams had trade talks prior to the deadline involving Rose and Ricky Rubio, although nothing was worked out. Minnesota has roughly $22MM in cap space to spend this summer.

Entering free agency for the first time in his career, Rose should be completely recovered from a meniscus tear in his left knee that ended his season in early April. It’s the latest in a string of injuries that have plagued him over the past six years, although he was able to play 66 and 64 games the past two seasons.

Rose was part of a blockbuster trade that sent him from Chicago to New York last summer, but his first season in New York was seen as a disappointment. He averaged 18 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds, but the Knicks won just 31 games, there were persistent questions about his defense and he briefly left the team without explanation in January.

Rose has said he is willing to stay in New York, but there have been conflicting reports about the team’s interest in keeping him.

“He enjoyed playing here even with the losses, which of course surprises us because he’s been on some very successful teams,” said Knicks president Phil Jackson. “But he wants to redeem himself as a player. Which I like that attitude. I like who Derrick represents as himself. He’s very direct about taking on a big challenge.”

Begley adds that San Antonio may also be a potential landing spot for Rose, depending what happens with other free agent point guards.

Rose told reporters this week that winning, not money, will be the priority in selecting his next team.

Knicks Target Tucker, Cunningham, Simmons

The Knicks are putting together their free agent shopping list with an eye toward players who can contribute on offense and defense, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

One of those players is Raptors small forward P.J. Tucker, who previously played for coach Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix. Hornacek describes Tucker as an intense defender and a leader in the locker room. He could also give the Knicks a 3-point threat, shooting 35.7 from long distance this season, including 40% after a midseason trade to Toronto.

Another target is Pelicans small forward Dante Cunningham, who was the top 3-point shooter in New Orleans this year at 39.2%. Cunningham is also a solid defender and helped the Pels to a 13-8 record when he played at least 28 minutes per game.

Spurs forward Jonathon Simmons has fans in the Knicks organization, but he will be in demand around the league. Simmons is a restricted free agent, so San Antonio can match any offer he receives.

New York will enter free agency with about $19MM to spend, although that number could change significantly if efforts to trade Carmelo Anthony are successful. In addition to adding talent this summer, the Knicks are hoping to retain shooting guard Justin Holiday, who played all 82 games and averaged 7.7 points per night in his first year with the team.

The Knicks may also reopen trade talks for Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, Begley adds. New York and Minnesota discussed a deal involving Rubio at the trade deadline, and Knicks officials might still be interested.

New York will be looking for more players in the mold of Courtney Lee, who was their lone success among last summer’s major moves. Lee, who is signed for three more seasons, believes the Knicks worked out many of their problems late in the season and are headed in the right direction. He also defended center Joakim Noah, who became a lightning rod for criticism after signing a four-year, $72MM contract.

“Joakim had a lot of injuries that people weren’t aware of during the season,” Lee said. “I know how tough he is and how prideful he is and I’m looking forward to him coming back 100 percent healthy and doing what he does for us on the court. I know he will come back strong and help lead for us.”

Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio Switches Agents

Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio has switched agents and will now be represented by Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, according to Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press (via Twitter). Rubio was previously represented by longtime NBA agent Dan Fegan.

Rubio, 26, enjoyed arguably his best season ever during the 2016/17 campaign, posting career-highs in PPG (11.1), APG (9.1), and field goal percentage (40.2 percent) through 75 games. The Spaniard, however, has been the subject of trade rumors the past several seasons, so a change in representation could be a preemptive move in case Minnesota finally pulls the trigger on a trade.

The Knicks reportedly discussed a Derrick Rose-for-Rubio swap prior to this year’s trade deadline, but a deal never materialized. Rubio still has two years and over $29MM left on his deal and a head coach in Tom Thibodeau who has indicated that 2016 draft pick Kris Dunn is the team’s future point guard.

As Krawczynski notes, Rubio’s new agent Schwartz is one of the premier reps in the game with an extensive history working with several current and former Timberwolves, including Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Cole Aldrich. While there is no deal in place, Schwartz’s familiarity with the team and Rubio’s uncertain status will make him a key player to watch this offseason.

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