Ricky Rubio

Western Notes: Cancar, Guduric, Rubio, Bol Bol

Vlatko Cancar will have plenty of competition at the forward spots but the 22-year-old could help the Nuggets in a variety of ways, as Eric Spyropoulos of the team’s website details. While playing on Denver’s summer league team for two years, Cancar has shown that he can handle the ball, knock down outside shots and battle in the lane. He doesn’t bring elite mobility at the defensive end but he uses his basketball IQ and awareness to position himself well, Spyropoulos adds.

Cancar, a 2017 second-round pick who spent the last two seasons overseas, signed a three-year contract. The first two years are guaranteed and the Nuggets used part of their mid-level exception to secure him, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. They are now $979K below the luxury tax line, Marks adds.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • The addition of Marko Guduric further muddles the Grizzlies’ wing rotation, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. He’ll join a group that includes shooting guards Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks and Josh Jackson as well as forwards Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill, Kyle Anderson and Bruno Caboclo. Guduric’s two-year, $5.3MM contract put the Grizzlies close to $128MM in salary commitments and gives them a full camp roster, Cobb adds. Guduric, who shot 47.7% from long range in Turkey last season, signed the contract on July 31.
  • New Suns point guard Ricky Rubio believes he can make Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton even more productive, as he told Cody Cunningham of the team’s website“I can help them reach the level they deserve,” Rubio said. “Deandre, Devin Booker, I’ve been talking to them the last couple days and they’re really excited. Can’t wait to jump on the court and start working with them.” Rubio was signed to a three-year, $51MM contract to fix Phoenix’s issues at the point guard position.
  • Nuggets rookie big man Bol Bol has moved around quite a bit for a 19-year-old but he feels at home in Denver, as he told Kendra Andrews of The Athletic“I’m happy to be here,” Bol said. “I really like the city. I’m happy to be in a bigger city again.”

Pacific Notes: Kerr/Davis, Rubio, Harding, Vogel

As if the Pacific Division wasn’t already exciting enough after a summer that saw Kevin Durant leave and Anthony Davis, Paul George, and 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard arrive to join LeBron James and Stephen Curry, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr added some fuel to the divisional fire today when he criticized Davis’ public trade demand out of New Orleans.

Appearing on NBC Sports’ Warriors Insider Podcast (h/t to ESPN), Kerr said there is a troubling trend in the NBA right now wherein players who are healthy and still have a couple of years left on their deal (e.g. Davis) publicly request a trade. Kerr said that situations like that are both a “real problem” and “bad for the league.”

“I’m talking more about the Anthony Davis situation… where a guy is perfectly healthy and has a couple years left on his deal and says, ‘I want to leave.’ That’s a real problem that the league has to address and that the players have to be careful with.”

“When you sign on that dotted line, you owe your effort and your play to that team, to that city, to the fans… (and) if you sign the contract, then you should be bound to that contract… (Now) If you come to an agreement with the team that, ‘Hey, it’s probably best for us to part ways,’ that’s one thing, (b)ut the Davis stuff was really kind of groundbreaking — and hopefully not a trend, because it’s bad for the league.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division this evening:

  • The Suns have been searching for a point guard to help lead them back up from the bottom of the Western Conference standings for years now, and the three qualities that veteran Ricky Rubio possesses that makes Phoenix think he’s the guy are playmaking, defense, and leadership, writes Cody Cunningham of Suns.com.
  • Lindsey Harding, recently hired as an assistant coach for the Kings under head coach Luke Walton, says that fear of the unknown is more of a factor than a lack of respect for women coaches when it comes to the absence of a female head coach in the NBA today (per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN).
  • New Lakers head coach Frank Vogel plans to incorporate a similar style of play incorporated by Walton, telling Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated that he will continue preaching pace, attacking the basket, and shooting a lot of free throws. But more importantly, Vogel’s goal will be to put shooters at all four positions around James, including center, a la Brook Lopez surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee.

And-Ones: Howard, Summer League, Spain, BIG3

Having been sent from Washington to Memphis in a trade for C.J. Miles, veteran center Dwight Howard is a member of the Grizzlies for now. However, the club is expected to waive or trade him at some point. After he was limited to just nine games in 2018/19 for health reasons, it’s not clear what the next step will be for Howard, but the eight-time All-Star tells Shams Charania of The Athletic that he has adjusted his mindset and is prepared to do whatever it takes to help his next team win.

“I don’t have an ego — it’s dead,” Howard said. “It had to die for me to be who I am. Sometimes when you want to become who you want to be, you have to die within yourself. Once you learn that you have to give up yourself for the team, that’s when things flourish.”

According to Charania, several NBA teams have said that they’re intrigued by Howard, who says he has been fully cleared after last year’s injury issues. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year claims he has lost 25 pounds since the end of the season, and one executive who saw him recently said he appears to be in his best shape in years, per Charania.

It remains to be seen whether Howard will get an opportunity to choose his next team on the free agent market, but if he does, he has one clear priority, he tells Charania: “Winning. Winning. Winning. I want to win. Nothing else. Just win.”

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

  • According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), there has been talk in Las Vegas about the possibility of moving back the start of Summer League in future years. Postponing the start date until after the end of the July moratorium would help address the problem of having traded 2019 draftees tied up in deals that can’t be made official until after Summer League is underway.
  • Spain announced its preliminary roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup this week, as Sportando relays, and the group includes a number of familiar names. The 16-man list, which will be cut down to 12 for the competition, features Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Willy Hernangomez, Juan Hernangomez, and former NBA players like Rudy Fernandez and Victor Claver.
  • The BIG3 announced on Wednesday that Baron Davis, Bonzi Wells, Lamar Odom, and Jermaine O’Neal are being “deactivated” for the 2019 season. The league cited the need to “maximize competition, protect the health of players, and to raise the level of the professionalism of the BIG3.”

Suns Sign Point Guard Ricky Rubio

JULY 8, 9:33pm: The Suns have officially signed Rubio, according to a team press release.

JUNE 30, 5:37pm: In a shocking development, the Suns have stolen presumed Pacers target Ricky Rubio. Phoenix will sign him to a three-year, $51MM deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Multiple reports this week indicated that Rubio was expected to join the Pacers once free agency began, with one story calling it a “virtual done deal.” Indiana saw point guard Darren Collison retire and it left them extremely thin at the position. However, the team was able to add Malcolm Brogdon via sign-and-trade.

As for the Suns, they haven’t had stability at the point guard spot since they traded Eric Bledsoe away. Rubio and newcomer Dario Saric, who came to the team in a draft night trade, will add veteran presence to a team looking to make the postseason.

A former fifth overall pick, Rubio averaged 12.7 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 3.6 RPG in 68 games (27.9 MPG) for the Jazz last season. He’s not a great shooter, but Phoenix will lean on him for his play-making, passing, and defense.

The Suns will need to make an additional roster move to fit Rubio in under the cap, if they plan to keep Kelly Oubre‘s cap hold on their books, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ricky Rubio Expected To Commit To Pacers Today

The Pacers are expected to get a verbal commitment from Ricky Rubio shortly after free agency officially opens later today, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. There has been talk all week that it is a “virtual done deal.”

Rubio, 28, would provide some stability at point guard for Indiana, which saw free agent starter Darren Collison surprisingly announce his retirement Friday night. Rubio posted a 12.7/3.6/6.1 line in 68 games for the Jazz this season, but his future in Utah was sealed when the team traded for Mike Conley earlier this month.

With free agents making up most of their starting lineup, the Pacers have a chance to set the course for their future this summer. With up to $50MM in cap room available, Indiana will have room for another significant signing or two in addition to Rubio.

Lowe’s Latest: Walker, Brogdon, Mavs, Rubio, Butler

The Celtics might be the frontrunner for Kemba Walker‘s services but devoting most of their cap space to the All-Star point guard would leave them without any proven frontcourt players and limited ways to acquire them, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an in-depth look at free agency. The addition of Walker would force coach Brad Stevens to use either Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward at power forward, Lowe notes. Walker also ran more pick-and-rolls with the Hornets than Kyrie Irving did with the Celtics, yet Irving was sometimes accused of being a ball hog, Lowe adds.

Here are some other interesting tidbits from Lowe’s column:

  • Bucks restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon will lose a suitor if the Celtics ink Walker. The Suns, Bulls, Mavericks and Pacers could potentially extend Brogdon an offer sheet but some teams are concerned about his foot issues.
  • The Mavericks are not looking to sign any high-level free agents.
  • The Pacers are looking to make a run at point guard Ricky Rubio. They are also likely to let power forward Thaddeus Young walk and go with a frontcourt of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Indiana rejected trade offers for Turner at the draft.
  • The Heat could get involved in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes via a sign-and-trade.
  • The Nets have no interest in doing a sign-and-trade with the Timberwolves involving restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell if it means taking back Jeff Teague or Andrew Wiggins.

Free Agent Rumors: Horford, Nets, Suns, Stokes, Rockets

In a surprising development, Al Horford is expected to leave the Celtics to sign with a new team in free agency, as we relayed on Tuesday night. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explains in his story on the situation, the gap between what Boston was willing to offer and what Horford is seeking on a long-term deal was too significant to bridge. The Celtics and Horford’s agent Jason Glushon aren’t expected to re-open talks, Woj adds.

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter), there’s a belief in front office circles that Horford knows there will be a four-year offer worth $100MM+ waiting for him in free agency, which led to talks with the Celtics breaking down.

It will be fascinating to see if that sort of lucrative offer is actually on the table for a 33-year-old who battled nagging injuries last season. According to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston (via Twitter), a league source says the Nets are a team to keep a close eye on, given their cap room and Horford’s connection to head coach Kenny Atkinson.

However, Kyrie Irving is believed to be headed to Brooklyn as a free agent, and Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets that he would be “beyond surprised” if Horford teams up with Irving again after a disappointing season in Boston.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on 2019 free agency:

Pacers Eyeing Ricky Rubio, Have Discussed No. 4 Pick

The Pacers have their eye on Ricky Rubio with free agency around the corner, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who hears from multiple league sources that the veteran point guard will be one of Indiana’s top targets.

Rubio, 28, is headed for the open market this summer after averaging 12.9 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.1 RPG on .412/.332/.861 shooting in two seasons with the Jazz. The Spaniard hinted earlier this month that a return to Utah may not be in the cards, as the Jazz are considering other point guard options.

The Pacers may have bigger-name point guards on their offseason wish list as well, having been linked to trade candidate Mike Conley and restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell, among others. But O’Connor suggests that Indiana views Rubio as a good potential fit, since his play-making abilities would complement Victor Oladipo‘s score-first playing style. Rubio would also be a defensive upgrade on point guards Darren Collison and Cory Joseph, both of whom will be free agents this summer.

League sources tell O’Connor that the Pacers have also explored the possibility of making a trade with the Pelicans for the No. 4 overall pick. New Orleans is reportedly open to either a pick-based or player-based package in exchange for that selection, O’Connor notes.

While O’Connor doesn’t provide any additional details on what picks or players the Pelicans and Pacers might have discussed, it wouldn’t surprise me if New Orleans has kicked the tires on one or both of Indiana’s promising young bigs, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.

It remains to be seen whether the Pacers are fully committed to having Turner and Sabonis share the frontcourt in the long term. The Pelicans, meanwhile, could be on the lookout for a center to complement presumed No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. Again though, that’s just my speculation.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Wolves, Forcier, Vanterpool, Thunder

With Ricky Rubio set to become an unrestricted free agent on June 30, the Jazz could be in the market for a new starting point guard moving forward, Kincade Upstill of the Deseret News writes.

Rubio made a rather interesting comment this weekend, sharing that Utah won’t be aggressively trying to re-sign him when he reaches the open market. “Utah has already let me know I’m not a priority for them,” he said, according to Ernest Macia of Catalunya Radio.

The Jazz could pursue other available point guards in free agency such as Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Malcolm Brogdon, D’Angelo Russell or Derrick Rose if the franchise mutually agrees to part ways with Rubio, who has served as the team’s starting point guard over the last two seasons. However, Jazz vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey went on the record to state that Ricky could still re-sign on a new contract.

“He’s got a decision to make on his end and we’ve got a decision to make on our end, but there’s a lot of scenarios I can see Ricky back. … We really appreciate who he is and we think we can get him better from a health perspective and skill standpoint,” Lindsey said, according to Upstill. “We know who he is — he has Jazz DNA. So he’ll have options, we’ll have options and we’ll talk to him and his agent.”

Rubio’s name surfaced in rumors around this season’s February 7 trade deadline, likely causing some trust issues between him and the organization. He holds career-averages of 11.1 points, 7.7 assists and 30.9 minutes across his eight NBA seasons.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division tonight:

Ricky Rubio Not Counting On Return To Jazz

Jazz guard Ricky Rubio doesn’t appear to be counting on a return to the team for another season, with the veteran point guard making some rather interesting comments this week on his upcoming free agency period.

“Utah has already let me know I’m not a priority for them,” Rubio said, according to Ernest Macia of Catalunya Radio (Twitter link).

Rubio appeared in 68 games with the Jazz this season, averaging 12.7 points, 6.1 assists 1.3 steals in 27.9 minutes per contest. He’s set to join a talented free-agent group that includes point guards such as Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, D’Angelo Russell, Malcolm Brogdon and more, giving the Jazz several options to consider outside of Rubio.

Rubio, 28, was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He has served as the team’s starting point guard over the last two seasons, spending six years with the Timberwolves before being traded to Utah in June of 2017.

In addition to Rubio (who made $14.9MM last season), the Jazz also have wing Thabo Sefolosha and center Ekpe Udoh to address in unrestricted free agency this summer. Utah finished with the fifth-best record in the Western Conference at 50-32 during the regular season, but the team lost to Houston 4-1 in the opening round of the playoffs.