MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Ricky Rubio era is apparently over for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Friday, the Associated Press’ Jon Krawczynski reported the Timberwolves agreed to a trade that sends Rubio to the Utah Jazz. The deal is still pending league approval.
Rubio has been the subject of trade rumors for several months. He’s always been a pass-first guard and has consistently struggled with his perimeter shooting. Last season was the first year he averaged more than 10 points per game in his six seasons with the Timberwolves.
In 2016-2017, he averaged 11.1 points per game and shot just 40.2 percent from the field. That includes just 30.6 percent from three-point range. After the All-Star break, Rubio went on an impressive scoring streak, but it seems the Wolves weren’t willing to bet on the change being permanent.
Rubio is currently making $14 million a year, and the Timberwolves are looking for a more consistent scoring option at point guard. Rubio has two more years left on his current contract, with more than $14 million due each season.
This is the second big trade of the offseason for the Wolves, who acquired Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls on draft night. The Wolves sent the bulls Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and the seventh pick for Butler and the 16th pick, which they used to draft center Justin Patton out of Creighton University.
With Rubio and Dunn gone, the Timberwolves will likely use their newfound cap space to sign a free agent point guard. The team has been linked to Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, and oft-injured Chicago Bulls free agent Derrick Rose has experience playing with head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Other top free agent point guards include Utah’s George Hill, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday and the Indian Pacers’ Jeff Teague.