NBA trade rumors reveal that the Minnesota Timberwolves are trying to deal Ricky Rubio before the NBA trade deadline hits in February. A report by basketball analyst Adrian Wojnarowski confirms that not only are the Wolves engaged in trade discussions about Rubio, but that Shabazz Muhammad is involved as well. The team has offered both players in multiple offers to teams around the league.
While it hasn’t been revealed which players the Wolves are targeting, Wojnarowski did note that the team is looking for a starter. That player would likely come with a shorter contract than the one that Rubio has through the 2018-19 NBA season. Wojnarowski also suggests that this new player could possibly also serve as a mentor to rookie Kris Dunn.
“Minnesota has been seeking something of a ‘bridge’ guard in return, a player capable of starting in the short term, but who’ll ultimately settle into a backup role and give way to rookie Kris Dunn to become the long-term starter, league sources said.”
There have been a large number of NBA trade rumors involving Ricky Rubio over the past few seasons. Part of that could stem from the struggles that the Minnesota Timberwolves have had as a franchise, but it could also be because he doesn’t have the scoring capabilities of many other starting point guards. Rubio is more of a pass-first guard, which could work better for a team with multiple high-volume scorers already on the court.
Over parts of six NBA seasons, Rubio has appeared in 314 games for the Wolves. During that time, he has averaged 9.8 points, 8.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 2.7 turnovers per game. Rubio has a career shooting percentage of just 36.9 from the field and just 30.9 from three-point range. He is much better from the free throw line, with a career mark of 81.9 percent.
Under his current contract, Rubio makes $13.55 million this season, $14.25 for the 2017-18 NBA season, and then $14.8 million for the 2018-19 NBA season. They are all guaranteed years, meaning a new team would likely be on the hook for the full amount of his contract. In comparison to other contacts for starting point guards, Rubio’s deal may not be viewed as expensive.
Shabazz Muhammad makes just about $3.1 million this season and then has an estimated qualifying offer worth about $4.3 million next year. This sets up Muhammad to be a restricted free agent at the end of the current season, giving a new team some additional control on a new deal. It appears that Muhammad is getting included in trade offers because the Wolves do not plan on offering him a new contract.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are only one game from having the worst record in the Western Conference standings. At 14-27, the team still isn’t improving as much as fans had hoped, despite having a young core that includes Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Kris Dunn. The trio may not be quite ready to get the Wolves to the NBA Playoffs, so dealing away veteran players like Ricky Rubio makes sense for the front office. The trick will be to find an offer from a team that sends back a good role player to start for a while.
If the Wolves decided to simply accept a draft pick or two in exchange for Rubio, it may become more likely that a deal gets done before the February trade deadline. There isn’t a lot of information about what the Wolves are asking for in terms of talent, so it is also unclear whether they are asking for too much or if there is just not an elevated level of interest for Rubio. That could become clear very soon, as more NBA trade rumors are expected to surface in the final weeks before the deadline.
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