It is clear that the Minnesota Timberwolves intend to trade Ricky Rubio. With free agency approaching, the Wolves have several options at point guard.
Ricky Rubio trade rumors have been floating around the NBA for a few years now. These rumors are continuing to pick up steam despite Rubio coming off the best season of his career. During the 2016-17 season, the Spanish floor general averaged 11.1 points, 9.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Those are good stats for a pass-first point guard.
Rubio is a solid point guard, but is not proving to be good enough for head coach Tom Thibodeau. The Wolves currently lack shooters, so they may opt for a point guard that can shoot efficiently and still run the offense. Ricky Rubio improved his field goal percentage from previous years, but his three-point percentage dropped to 30.6 percent last season.
It wont be easy to trade Rubio. He is on a contract that still has two years and $28.9 million left on it, per Sportrac. The Timberwolves will first have to find a team that is interested and then make sure that team has the cap room to make it work.
Who will replace Rubio?
If the Minnesota Timberwolves trade away Ricky Rubio and don’t get a point guard in return, they would be left with Tyus Jones as the only point guard on the roster. Jones is young and has potential, but is not ready to start in the NBA.
In that scenario, the Timberwolves must target a starting-caliber point guard in free agency. That way they will enter the season with their long-term starting lineup. In addition, that would allow the Wolves to trade Rubio for a couple rotational players.
The Minnesota Timberwolves currently have $21.3 million in cap space if they renounce all free agency cap holds other than Patton, per Spotrac. The recently gained $4.2 million after cutting Jordan Hill‘s non-guaranteed salary for 2017-18.
Bearing all this in mind, here’s a look at three players that can replace Ricky Rubio as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ starting point guard.