The expiring contract of the Cleveland Cavaliers' Ricky Rubio is reportedly generating interest ahead of the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline even though the point guard suffered a season-ending torn ACL in December.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday the Cavs are trying to upgrade their backcourt, with Rubio and draft picks among the assets they're making available.
Cleveland was overflowing with backcourt depth coming into the 2021-22 campaign, but injuries have left the group a bit shorthanded.
Rubio and Collin Sexton, who suffered a meniscus tear in November, are both out for the season, while Isaac Okoro is currently sidelined by an elbow injury.
The Cavaliers acquired Rajon Rondo from the Los Angeles Lakers last week, but the search for further upgrades is ongoing.
Rubio, who arrived in an August trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, averaged 13.1 points, 6.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 34 games for the Cavs. He was struggling with his shot, however, making just 36.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and 33.9 percent of his threes.
Before the injury, the veteran guard said he'd grown to understand it was possible to make an impact even when your offensive game wasn't clicking.
"In the past, I would have an off shooting night, and I would forget to, like, really be the guy who I am," Rubio said in early December. "I'm brought here to be a playmaker, make the right play, play defense, know where to be at the right time. ... You still can like bring a lot to the table. Even if you're having a bad game."
The 31-year-old Spaniard is in the final season of his three-year, $51 million contract, which includes a $17.8 million base salary for 2021-22. That gives him some value on the trade market despite his unavailability for the remainder of the campaign.
That said, it's unclear whether the Cavaliers would be able to attract in offers for Rubio's contract and draft picks, especially since they're currently trending toward a mid-to-late selection in the 2022 draft thanks to their 22-18 record.
The Cavs are also still a bit away from legitimate championship contention, so giving up too many future assets for a short-term upgrade probably isn't the right play at this point in the team's trajectory.