Following Jimmy Butler deal, is Ricky Rubio now off the trade block?

By Vincent Frank
Caption: Apr 4, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) reacts after a call against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Timberwolves 121-107. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the rumors surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft included the team looking to move point guard Ricky Rubio.

When the Association’s annual draft came to a conclusion, Minnesota had added All-Star guard Jimmy Butler in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bulls. It was a move that had been bandied about, but onlookers were still a bit surprised.

Now as Minnesota prepares for free agency, it looks like the team might very well decide to hang on to Rubio. At least, that’s the direction general managerĀ Scott Layden seemed to be heading in following the draft.

Surely, this could be a way for Minnesota to gain leverage in potential trade talks surrounding Rubio. Then again, the team did move young point guard Kris Dunn in the Butler trade. Short of acquiring an upgrade in free agency or through another trade, Rubio could be the best option here.

While still struggling from a shooting standpoint, Rubio was among the best pass distributors in the Association last season. He averaged a career-best 9.1 assists per game.

With Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns making up the core of this team, Rubio could be a valuable asset on the court moving forward.