ESPN The Utah Jazz will acquire Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio on Friday, according to league sources. Sources said that the Wolves will trade Rubio into Utah’s $16 million of expiring salary cap space for a 2018 first-round pick via the Oklahoma City Thunder. The pick is top-14 protected. The Salt Lake Tribune was the first to report Friday that the deal was close. ESPN has been reporting all week that the Jazz have been trying to acquire Rubio before Friday’s midnight expiration of the cap space. Rubio, 26, averaged 16.0 points and 10.5 assists per game after the All-Star break this past season.
An NBA trade has just gone down hours before free agency, which seems like a strange one, as I wonder about the fit. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz, an interesting decision, which means the Jazz will not sign free agent to be George Hill. This also means that the Timberwolves do not have a starting point guard after trading both Rubio and Kris Dunn this offseason, so they are expected to sign a starting point guard during the early portion of free agency, with the options being Kyle Lowry, George Hill, Jeff Teague and Jrue Holiday.
George Hill was a perfect fit with the Jazz, he is an except shooter and a solid defender, while Ricky Rubio is a much different point guard. Rubio is a poor defender, although he has quick hands, and he is an inconsistent shooter who was much better after the 2017 All Star Break. In fact, Ricky Rubio seemed to finally realize his potential after the 2017 All Star Break, he played the best basketball of his career as both a scorer and a playmaker. One thing is for sure, the Jazz are going to be a much different team this fall, with Rubio running the point instead of Hill.
You have to wonder how the acquisition of Ricky Rubio alters Gordon Hayward’s free agent plans, with Rubio running the point, the Jazz should run more and Hayward should get the ball in transition more regularly.
UPDATE: Another possible point guard for Minnesota is Rajon Rondo, who Tom Thibodeau coached in Boston, and who was released by the Chicago Bulls earlier today.