Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 believes that the Minnesota Timberwolves will eventually shop point guard Ricky Rubio and when they do, the Sacramento Kings will be one of the first teams to make a call. The Kings currently don’t have very much depth behind projected starter Darren Collison and the team would likely function better with Collison playing as a backup as opposed to a starter much like he did last season behind Rajon Rondo.
“As Glen Taylor said on this podcast a couple episodes ago, Ricky Rubio will start the season with the Wolves,” Wolfson said. “But I can tell you, as I’ve said a number of times, the Sacramento Kings are a team to watch. Vlade Divac, George Karl, now George Karl into Dave Joerger. Keep an eye on the Sacramento Kings if slash when the Wolves decide to make a move on Ricky. But, again, nothing is imminent. Ricky Rubio will be with the Wolves opening night.”
The Kings maybe could kinda be interested in trading for Ricky Rubio someday https://t.co/7QAojbOda8
— Sactown Royalty (@sactownroyalty) August 16, 2016
Rubio is one of the better point guards in the NBA, and he averaged 10.1 points, 8.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in 2015. While the talent is obvious, it didn’t stop Minnesota from selecting Kris Dunn with the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Dunn was considered to be the top point guard prospect in the entire class.
The biggest thing working against Ricky were some comments he made earlier in the year. Rubio said that if the Timberwolves don’t make the playoffs during the 2016-17 season, that he would consider opting out of his contract, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.
“When I arrived to Minnesota, my hope was to break the seven years’ streak without [a] presence in [the] playoffs. I still have that hope, but it’s very tough mentally when year after year that goal is not met,” Rubio told Catalunya Radio, a Spanish radio network.
“Next season will be crucial for me. I’ve been in the NBA for five years, and six years without playoffs would be a long time. At 26, I’d have to start thinking about teams that can get to the playoffs and win in the Finals.”
Ideally, the Wolves would probably like to have Rubio stay one more season to give Dunn time to learn, but if Ricky isn’t 100 percent committed to Minnesota, it would make sense for the team to deal him.
The one problem for the Kings is figuring out who to send to Minnesota for Rubio. It sounds as if DeMarcus Cousins might be on the trade block if the Kings were blown away by an offer, but the Wolves already have Karl-Anthony Towns and a Cousins for Rubio trade would heavily favor the Wolves.
Rumor: Kings interested in Ricky Rubio https://t.co/oZ3gwIFUFP
— Ricky Rubio (@RickyRubioNews) August 16, 2016
Rudy Gay is definitely on the trading block, but Rubio is quite a bit more valuable than the soon-to-be 30-year-old Gay. The Kings could throw in someone like Ben McLemore or Willie Cauley-Stein, but it’s unclear if either of those players would be of any interest to the Kings.
It’s entirely possible that the Kings would have to involve a third team in any trade for Ricky Rubio in order to meet the demands of the Wolves. Even still, it’s definitely an avenue the team should explore to its fullest as Rubio would provide a nice piece for Sacramento. Ricky, Gay and Cousins would provide a solid nucleus to pair with veteran pieces like Matt Barnes and Arron Afflalo that could turn the Kings into a playoff contender.
In the end, if the Sacramento Kings have the means to add Ricky Rubio, the front office should do it as soon as possible.
[Photo via Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]