The Minnesota Timberwolves might be ready to let Ricky Rubio go.
Rubio has been one of the hottest names at the NBA trade deadline this year, though there hadn’t been much in the way of admission from those around the organization that they want to deal the star point guard.
Until now, potentially. According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Timberwolves have Rubio out there and rumblings suggest he might be on the move:
Zach LaVine was nothing short of spectacular in winning his second straight Slam Dunk title on Saturday and by the end of this week he may win something else; the starting point guard job for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Incumbent Ricky Rubio is readily available and the feeling is that the Spanish guard could be moved prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
This isn’t so hard to believe. In reality, Rubio rumors have been rampant since training camp. Zach LaVine’s presence didn’t help. The team persisted, though, only to watch as Rubio failed to settle down and lead the team once actually surrounded by strong pieces such as Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
As such, the Timberwolves’ odd lineup has produced just 17 wins. Rubio sits on averages of 9.7 points, 8.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. LaVine, while young, presents an interesting developmental chance for the team and already averages 12.8 points, 3.2 assists and 2.9 rebounds.
The question becomes just how much the Timberwolves would ask for in return. Just a few days earlier, 1500 ESPN’s Derek James noted that the team wasn’t too interested in doing a deal:
Windhorst says that teams are calling about Rubio but the Timberwolves really don’t want to do that.
— Derek James (@DerekJamesNBA) February 11, 2016
At the least, two things are quite clear. One, other teams look at the Timberwolves and see a chance to nab a potential star point guard. Two, Rubio’s future as the leader of the offense and the organization’s rebuild isn’t as clear as it used to be.
The Timberwolves could wait until the offseason, giving the roster one final half-season stretch to see if it can develop the chemistry the front office envisioned when looking at it on paper. The early returns haven’t been promising, though, and it’s that fact that has other teams picking up the phone in the first place and the team possibly placing Rubio on the block to gauge interest.
It would take a lot for a team to rip Rubio from Minnesota. But those in need wouldn’t much hesitate, especially if that trade partner believes it has the stability and core to help Rubio succeed in a way he simply hasn’t yet in the Association. And if that sort of team comes calling over the next few days, it only makes sense for the Timberwolves to take a serious look at what seems like a dwindling experiment.
So long as the Timberwolves keep answering the phone, teams around the Association won’t stop calling.