Recent reports are out that the Utah Jazz will try to trade several of their key players before the February 8 deadline in an effort to build their team around Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell moving forward. Three Jazz players are said to be on the trading block, and they are Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, and Ricky Rubio.
Rubio, who the Minnesota Timberwolves traded to Utah for a 2018 first-rounder last summer, is the team’s starting point guard. However, the 27-year-old former EuroLeague champion has struggled in head coach Quin Snyder’s system, which focuses more on “shot creation from the wings” rather than the conventional point guard-driven approach, as per HoopsHype‘s Frank Urbina.
As a result, Rubio’s assist production has glaringly gone down from 9.1 assists per game last season in Minnesota to 4.8 assists a night in 48 games so far for the Jazz this season. His scoring and rebounding numbers remained virtually the same, so Rubio’s trade value has not changed and several teams are said to be interested in acquiring him before the deadline.
Urbina suggested that the Jazz might end up having a three-team trade with the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls. According to the reporter, the hypothetical trade would look something like this: New York gets Rubio, Utah acquires Nikola Mirotic, and Chicago receives Courtney Lee and a lottery-protected 2018 first-round pick.
Both Mirotic and Lee have been mentioned in trade rumors since the beginning of the season.
Mirotic, 26, is Rubio’s teammate in the Spanish national team and a former Spanish League MVP. He has been in the rumor mill since getting into a fight with Bulls teammate Bobby Portis during the last offseason, resulting in a facial injury that sidelined him for the first 23 games of the season.
The Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson had linked Mirotic to the Jazz earlier this month, saying that Utah “expressed preliminary interest” in the four-year veteran.
Meanwhile, Lee was also the subject of trade speculations. Bleacher Report indicated that the Knicks are planning to make their roster younger and would trade some of their veteran players to achieve the team’s goals.
New York is also reportedly trying to clear off salary cap space in preparation for this summer’s free agency. Lee has two more years left on his Knicks deal after this season and would earn $12 million per year.
Lee has been shooting quite well from three-point range, sinking 42.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc this season. His outside-shooting prowess would be a welcome addition to Chicago while the included first-rounder gives the Bulls two draft selections in the upcoming 2018 draft.