NBA Trade Speculation: Odds on Which Team Ricky Rubio Will Play for in 2011-12
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
As speculation continues to swirl around Barcelona’s point guard Ricky Rubio and the odds he makes it to the NBA in the near future, many experts from the Association have differing opinions of where the over-seas stud will land.
While Minnesota Timberwolves President of basketball operations David Kahn has assured fans that Rubio will be taking his talents to Minnesota saying things like this to ESPN’s True Hoop blog:
“Don’t believe anything you read… nothing could be further from the truth. I’m looking very forward to him [Rubio] starting his career here with the Minnesota Timberwolves in what I assume will be a year-and-a-half.”
We just can’t be too sure.
Here are the odds Ricky Rubio lands with these five teams through whatever means necessary for the 2011-12 NBA season.
New Jersey Nets
Larry Busacca/Getty Images
As star-point guard Deron Williams begins his four-week rehab after a Monday wrist surgery, William’s 2011 “tryout” to become the New Jersey Nets’ franchise guard has been thrown into a state of limbo.
If an extension for Williams doesn’t get pounded out this off-season, Nets’ execs may need to look elsewhere for a franchise cornerstone.
Ricky Rubio’s presence in the Nets’ locker room will contribute to their youthful movement, and New York is in the exact market Rubio wants to play in.
Brooklyn is a cultural melting pot that has embraced foreign-born owner Mikhail Prokhorov and would surely accept the Latin flavor that Rubio will bring with his play.
Deron’s impending contract extension is the only real roadblock in the way of a Rubio trade talks in New York, so that’s why I give this deal a lowly 4% likelihood of happening.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
For the sake of an accurate comparison, Rubio’s game matches well with Boston Celtics’ guard Rajon Rondo.
Like Rondo, Rubio excels in the open floor, grabbing loose balls and snatching down rebounds, but it’s his court sense to anticipate the defense and make plays off his high basketball IQ that makes him a rare commodity.
Having two of the arguably best players on the wings in LeBron James and Dwayne Wade would simply create a disruptive force on the floor.
Rubio will be able to run the point, dishing it out to his All-Star cast, or use their court presence to drive it to the bucket for an easy lay-in.
Miami is also a destination Rubio should feel comfortable playing in.
With its close Spanish ties and warm weather, Rubio could be a fit in Pat Riley’s game plan in South Beach.
But with too many issues needing to pan out right for the Heat to grab Rubio, I give this only a 6% chance of actually becoming a reality.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
While Jason Kidd isn’t getting any younger, the Dallas Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban have been, “very high on Rubio,” as he recently told DallasNews.com about his interest in the Timberwolves point guard.
“If they want to give him up, we’re very interested. We would do that in a heartbeat,” Cuban told the news outlet.
And, in actuality, Dallas does seem to provide a good fit for Ricky Rubio’s future.
As Kidd begins to ease his way into retirement, Rubio will be able to learn for a few years under one of the best guards to play in the NBA.
Mark Cuban would be a blast to work under and Rubio will team up with fellow European Dirk Nowitzki to create a lethal pick-and-roll combo.
And if you think Cuban is concerned about Rubio’s recent underperformance this season in the Euroleague, think twice.
“The thing about Europe is it doesn’t necessarily translate in terms of points and assists [to the NBA]. You’ve got to look at the talent, you’ve got to look at game IQ and you’ve got to look at age.”
Despite Rubio and his family’s preference to play on an East coast team, the Mavs hold a 12% chance of acquiring Rubio’s services.
New York Knicks
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
As the New York Times puts it ever so nicely, “Always the youngest pro player on the court, Rubio found it natural to act as a selfless distributor and to defer to those with seniority.”
To put it lightly, the thought of Rubio teaming with 8-year veteran Amaré Stoudemire and 7-year vet Carmelo Anthony would be absolutely ridiculous (in a good way).
The New York Knicks would become scary-good. They would have one of the leagues’ best ‘Big 3’ combination and would also permit Rubio time to acclimate to the NBA-game while 'Melo and Amaré take over on the offensive end.
While the future of Chauncy Billups in a Knicks’ uni is still up for debate, Rubio would be a perfect, young candidate to work in the Knicks’ imposing game-play and would also create a deadly pick-and-roll combo with Stoudemire.
As “the [Rubio] family preference is to be on the East Coast, specifically New York, Miami or Boston,” Rubio would be a great fit at MSG, giving this a 21% probability of happening.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Selecting Ricky Rubio with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves should still be seen as the favorites to land Rubio for the sole reason that they still hold the rights to his contract.
Rubio is a fine prospect with the ability to flash All-Star fundamentals and jaw-dropping performances and the 'Wolves would be happy to eventually trot him out on a day-to-day basis.
With heavy speculation from analysts and fans alike, dooming Rubio’s tenure in Minnesota before it even has began, T’wolves President of basketball operations David Kahn has gone on record to ESPN to dispel any negative rumors.
Addressing speculation that Rubio would rather play in Europe than in Minnesota, Kuhn said, “It wasn’t an issue of him having any concern about Minnesota whatsoever. I think at the end of the day he just felt that him having a couple more years in Europe would be the smart and prudent thing for him to do.”
He ends with the interview with, “I believe to this day that Ricky will prove to be a very special NBA player, and I fully expect him to be here.”
I guess a little optimism could eventually go a long way. The Timberwolves get a 57% shot at keeping Rubio. Very promising if I do say so myself.