The Minnesota Timberwolves will wait until the waning days of free agency before entertaining offers for point guard Ricky Rubio. Team president and head coach Tom Thibodeau believes he can get better offers for Rubio once the free agency frenzy has settled.
The team’s decision to draft Providence point guard Kris Dunn sparked rumors that Rubio may be on his way out. Surely enough, several league sources confirmed that the Timberwolves have already started shopping the 25-year-old Spaniard, even before the Rookie Draft.
Rubio wasn’t dealt right away because interested takers were put off by his steep contract. Teams were also hesitant to trade for Rubio knowing full well they might sign a better point guard in free agency.
On the bright side, it wouldn’t hurt the Timberwolves to wait 10 to 15 more days. Teams glossed over by marquee free agents would bid heavily for a shot at acquiring Rubio. The 6-foot-4 playmaker is set to make $42 million in the next three years, as per Basketball-Reference.
Sporting News noted that there are several teams who are interested in Rubio. These are the Dallas Mavericks, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers. Of course, their interest might change depending on how free agency plays out.
Among the aforementioned teams, the woeful 76ers have the least shot at signing elite free agents this summer. A trade is the best option for the 76ers to acquire the floor general they desperately need.
The 76ers also have a prospect the Timberwolves are eager to acquire in return: Nerlens Noel. Thibodeau is a defensive-minded coach and would love to have Noel on his team.
Philly.com indicated that the 6-foot-11 rim protector would be an upgrade over Timberwolves starting center Gorgui Dieng. Noel’s production of 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game are all slightly better than Dieng’s averages.
On the other hand, the 76ers’ committee of young big men would greatly benefit from Rubio’s pick and roll proficiency. The Spanish dynamo would also act as a complementary ball-handler behind point forward Ben Simmons.
According to NBA.com, Rubio has a Player Impact Estimate rating of 12.6 percent, making him an above-average contributor for his team. In the 2015-16 season, Rubio averaged 10.1 points, 8.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.