The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly dangling point guard Ricky Rubio as trade bait heading into the second half of the 2016-17 NBA season.
“The Timberwolves have attached Rubio to multiple offers with Shabazz Muhammad to several teams around the NBA, league sources said,” per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. “Minnesota has been seeking something of a ‘bridge’ guard in return, a player capable of starting in the short term, but who’ll ultimately settle into a backup role and give way to rookie Kris Dunn to become the long-term starter, league sources said.”
Wojnarowski writes that the Sacramento Kings had “a strong interest” in acquiring Rubio but don’t currently have any traction on a deal with Minnesota to make it happen.
Moving a valuable player like Rubio, who can distribute with the best of them (7.9 assists per game this year), makes sense for the Timberwolves right now. A team that is still clearly a few years away from seriously contending in the brutal Western Conference, acquiring some draft capital along with a desired “bridge” guard to continue investing in a young roster is smart.
It remains to be seen if Rubio will indeed find a new home. It seems like every year he’s the subject of trade rumors, but he’s been with Minnesota since 2011 despite them. Perhaps the biggest issue is that Rubio has a big price tag of $13.5 million this season and is still owed $29 million through 2019.