After years of speculation, Ricky Rubio has finally been traded. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Tony Jones reported the Jazz have acquired Rubio in exchange for a protected 2018 first round pick. The move saves the Timberwolves over $14 million in cap space.
The Jazz enter a critical free agency period with star player Gordon Hayward on the market. Here’s a look at the current Jazz roster with their free agents in italics. The 2017 draft picks are noted in parenthesis as well.
C- Rudy Gobert, Jeff Withey (FA), Tony Bradley (R)
PF- Derrick Favors, Boris Diaw, Joel Bolomboy
SF- Joe Johnson, Joe Ingles (FA)
SG- Gordon Hayward, Donovan Mitchell (R), Rodney Hood, Alec Burks
PG- Ricky Rubio, George Hill (FA), Dante Exum, Shelvin Mack (FA), Raul Nato, Nigel Williams-Goss (R)
While Hayward has not ruled out a return to Utah, he is being seriously pursued by the Celtics and Heat among other teams. Ingles is a restricted free agent who is also expected to generate interest from other teams this summer.
The acquisition of Rubio likely means free agent George Hill is headed elsewhere. If the Jazz can retain Hayward, the addition of Rubio strengthens their young core of players. While Rubio has his struggles shooting the ball, he is a great playmaker. Rubio averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 assists last season with the Timberwolves. Minnesota has now been linked to Jeff Teague as a potential replacement at point guard.
Rubio was constantly linked to other teams in trade rumors throughout his time in Minnesota. It became an annual occurrence to hear about Rubio being dangled as trade bait around the trade deadline.
Now, he heads to a Jazz team that has become one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. Fans have tempered their excitement as they wait to see the fate of Hayward. Without Hayward, the Jazz go from being a potential top-four seed in the West to fighting for a playoff spot.