Sports

Thank God, Ricky Rubio Has Been Traded

Thank God, Ricky Rubio Has Been Traded”

The Wolves traded Rubio earlier in the day in exchange for a lottery-protected 2018 first-round draft pick from the Utah Jazz.

Essentially, Utah traded away Kanter, a mediocre forward who had fallen behind Gobert in the ranks, for Rubio without sacrificing their 2018 first-round pick.

Rubio spent six seasons in Minnesota, delighting Wolves fans with flashy passing and an approachable nature while also suffering through losing season after losing season (see full story). It's not a ideal fit - Kyle Lowry or George Hill would be unbelievable on this team.

Rubio, 26, averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 assists per game last season.

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Rubio had been with the Timberwolves since 2009, so the deal to the Jazz will come as a bit of a culture shock for the point guard, just weeks after the team acquired a big star in Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls to add to their young lineup. Rubio's arrival likely means the end of George Hill's run in Utah, though general manager Dennis Lindsey said Wednesday that Hill remained a top priority.

As for the Knicks, they have 18-year-old rookie Frank Ntilikina at point guard after selecting him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

For the sake of not assuming the Timberwolves are committing tampering, let's assume that Minnesota hasn't formalized anything yet given that they can't actually talk to Teague yet. He leaves as arguably the best point guard in Timberwolves history.

The two sides agreed to the move hours before free agency opened. That's important given the Jazz must keep an eye on the luxury tax if they re-sign Hayward and restricted free agent Joe Ingles.

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"Ultimately we won't really know how to evaluate this trade until we find out which point guard the Timberwolves choose to replace Rubio", wrote ESPN's Kevin Pelton, who gave the Wolves a "B-minus" for the trade, "and how much that costs them".

The constant rumors were strain on Rubio, especially this season when Thibodeau took over as coach and president of basketball operations. Offensively, Rubio is one of the best passers in the league.

Rubio is set to make $28.9 million over the next two seasons, and is coming off a solid 2016-17 campaign.

Teague, meanwhile, does lose some value here, as he'll be the No. 4 offensive option in Minnesota rather than the Robin to Paul George's Batman. All represent upgrades relative to Rubio and all project to be meaningfully more expensive, suggesting that the Timberwolves are pursuing their first playoff trip since 2004 with guns blazing and cash flying.

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