With Thursday’s 2016 NBA trade deadline less than four days away, rumors are picking up steam regarding some of the top stars in the league. While Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, and Carmelo Anthony have dominated the news as of late, nothing has come to fruition regarding the many deals that they have been linked to. Trading for a star player such as Griffin or Howard would make an immediate impact on any team, but sometimes it is not possible to pull off a huge blockbuster trade when draft picks and the salary cap is taken into consideration.
While he is not exactly a star player, Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio is apparently on the block and ready to be moved by the team. And even though the 25-year-old is having somewhat of a down year, he is still young and has the potential to improve into a solid contributor on a playoff team in the coming years. The New York Daily News confirms that Rubio is available, and they go on to speculate that he could possibly be a good fit for the New York Knicks.
“Incumbent Ricky Rubio is readily available and the feeling is that the Spanish guard could be moved prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. Phil Jackson is in the market for a point guard but it’s hard to envision the Knicks having the assets to acquire the 25-year-old Rubio, whose season average in points (9.7), assists (8.6) and minutes (30.3) are down this year. Jackson wants desperately to make the playoffs – as evidenced by his quick trigger decision to fire Derek Fisher 136 games into his tenure – but finding an upgrade in the backcourt is tricky.”
With a record of 23-32, the Knicks are not a good team this year. To make matters worse, they cannot even compete in the Eastern Conference, which is significantly worse than the Western Conference. While the Knicks are struggling this year, they do have solid pieces in Carmelo Anthony and rookie phenom Kristaps Porzingis.
As reported by The Inquisitr, Anthony was recently involved in trade rumors of his own. While many analysts believed that there was a legitimate shot that Anthony would be moved, he shot down the rumors and expressed his desire to remain a member of the New York Knicks. With Anthony definitely staying in New York and Porzingis continuing to improve every single game, adding a competent point guard in Ricky Rubio could provide both short-term and long-term benefits.
While the 23-32 record is poor, the Knicks are still only five games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. In addition to the Hornets, the Knicks would also have to pass the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, and Orlando Magic in the standings, but none of those teams are great.
While the Knicks have absolutely no chance of winning the Eastern Conference, just making the playoffs could provide valuable experience for the young guys. Ricky Rubio does not put up huge numbers, but he does play arguably the most important position on the floor. A good point guard can make everyone on the team better, and Porzingis could actually receive the most benefit.
Even though the Philadelphia 76ers are a poor team, they improved dramatically after adding point guard Ish Smith to the roster. While Smith is not even a great player, it goes to show that adding a competent point guard can improve the play of the team as a whole. Rubio could play a similar role for the Knicks and possibly lead the team to the final playoff spot.
As noted by the New York Daily News, the Knicks may not have all of the assets required to land Rubio. But this is Phil Jackson we are talking about, and he is looking to make the playoffs this year. The Knicks may have to give up more than they had hoped, but if Rubio is their guy, they will find a way to get the deal done.
NBA trade rumors will continue to come out over the next few days as Thursday’s deadline approaches. While it may be difficult for the New York Knicks to put together a viable package, Ricky Rubio is now officially available and ready to be traded.
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