Ricky Rubio Reportedly Being Shopped in Trade Talks After Jimmy Butler Deal

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 11: Semaj Christon #6 of the Oklahoma City Thunder defends against Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first quarter of the game on April 11, 2017 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves remain interested in trading point guard Ricky Rubio despite sending Kris Dunn to the Chicago Bulls in a package for Jimmy Butler.

ESPN's Marc Stein reported Monday the Wolves are shopping Rubio in hopes of landing more shooting. 

Rubio, 26, averaged 11.1 points, 9.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game last season. He shot above 40 percent from the floor for the first time in his career and broke out following the All-Star break, putting together his best-ever NBA stretch in March.

Stein's report runs contrary to public comments made by general manger Scott Layden after last Thursday's draft. 

"I think Ricky has been a great team player and [is] sharing the basketball," Layden told Paul Allen on KFXN-100.3 (h/t Jace Frederick of the Pioneer Press). "His second half of the season I think was his best basketball, too, so we're looking forward to (having) him."

"I think he's just going to grow on that second half, and just keep going and just have a great career here," Layden added.

Keeping Rubio seemed like the obvious solution after the Timberwolves traded Dunn, who they selected No. 5 overall last year, as part of their package for Butler. Minnesota has no obvious replacement in house for Rubio and has never been much of a free-agent destination. In all likelihood, Rubio is on par or better than what the Wolves could get in free agency.

But there are some understandable fit issues. Rubio is a bad shooter and will probably top out at below-average for his entire career. Neither Butler nor Andrew Wiggins are consistent three-point shooters. The best shooter in their starting lineup at the moment is their starting center, Karl-Anthony Towns.

That's untenable moving forward. The Wolves are committed to Wiggins and Towns as part of their core, so Rubio is the only obvious trade piece. Finding a point guard who can both create and shoot from distance is easier said than done, though. 



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