The Minnesota Timberwolves currently sit at 16-44, bad enough to be the second-worst record in the NBA. After an offseason full of interesting and savvy moves by general manager Gersson Rosas, a year of unlucky injuries and circumstances effectively derailed the season before it began.
One of the trades that Gersson Rosas made was to acquire then-Thunder point guard Ricky Rubio. The Thunder send two late-first round draft picks (Leandro Balmaro, Jaden McDaniels) along with Rubio to acquire the 17th pick (Aleksej Pokusevski) and James Johnson.
Rubio had an undeniably positive season in 2019-20. That said, he completely fell off a cliff this season. Rubio’s 3-point percentage was one of the aspects of his game that allowed him to be as effective as he was in 2019-20. It dropped from 36-percent to 31-percent. Rubio’s field goal percentage also fell.
Needless to say, Rubio has not been worth the $17 million price-tag tied to his name – and it is unlikely he lives up to it next year, as well.
The Timberwolves – with this contract on the team – along with at least low-playoff-seed expectations – are going to be tasked with finding a landing place for Rubio this offseason while also possibly bringing in a positive player in the same trade.
And quite honestly – that probably is not going to happen. The point guard position is one of the more saturated in the NBA – and the thought of a team surrendering ~15-percent of their cap space to take on Rubio (even if it is only for one year) probably is not very appealing to anyone outside of the Timberwolves organization.
For Minnesota to get Rubio off of the payroll in 2021-22, it is probable that they would have to include a draft pick (or young player) – and for a team that has not proven to have any playoff success in recent history, that is not a feasible option.
Ricky Rubio has had a very disappointing season. But when it comes to the Timberwolves potentially moving on from him this offseason, it does not seem as though there is a great solution.
Who knows, though? NBA teams make weird decisions all of the time – so maybe another will take a chance on Rubio and the Timberwolves will be spared from the oh-so-feared two-point-guard system.