What do the Cavaliers want with a player who won’t be available until January?
In a time when gossip and speculation rule the day, Ricky Rubio‘s name is the latest to join the ever-spinning rumor mill.
But I have a feeling Rubio will be happy with the latest speculation surrounding his name.
According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, the Cavaliers are looking to bring Rubio back to Cleveland this offseason.
REPORT: The Cavaliers are “very much interested" in signing Ricky Rubio after trading him to the Pacers last season.
(via @ByJasonLloyd, https://t.co/LIoWHbF3hN) pic.twitter.com/HX6aEzE2IB
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 26, 2022
The move makes perfect sense for the Cavs.
Cleveland entered the offseason with a clear need for guard depth.
Injuries to Collin Sexton and then Rubio decimated Cleveland’s backcourt options.
Fortunately, Darius Garland showed that he was more than capable of handling the workload, blossoming into an All-Star this season.
And Rubio is a proven winner in Cleveland’s system.
Last season, Rubio averaged 13.1 points on 36% shooting from the field.
Maybe that percentage isn’t flashy, and it certainly isn’t “bounce-back,” but for someone coming off the bench, it’s perfectly adequate.
Even more important, Rubio was averaging 6.6 assists a night, making sure guys like Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen were fed while Garland took a breather.
But when Rubio suffered a knee injury back in January, the Cavs needed to act quickly to keep their guard options open.
Hence why Rubio was used as a salary-matching contract to bring in Indiana’s Caris LeVert.
LeVert, while talented, dealt with his own injury issues and never found the same rhythm in Cleveland’s system as Rubio.
Given how successful Cleveland was with a healthy Rubio, it makes perfect sense for them to bring back the 11-year vet.
The Right Fit
Once upon a time, Rubio was going to be the next big overseas star to take the NBA by storm.
Teams salivated at the chance to take who some heralded as the next Steve Nash.
He was so highly touted, that the Timberwolves took Rubio (and Jonny Flynn) over Stephen Curry.
Unfortunately, the league changed drastically right after Rubio came to the States, with teams going with longer point guards capable of defending multiple positions.
Ironically enough, some of that change is due in part to Curry, whose game isn’t reliant on excellent passes or vision, but rather on rangy shooting and offensive lethality from anywhere on the court.
"Ricky Rubio, he the GOAT!" pic.twitter.com/Ii5ceWCSqA
— Cavsbrasil.br (@CavsbrasilB) June 26, 2022
A major ACL tear during his rookie year also derailed Rubio’s career, turning him from franchise cornerstone to NBA journeyman.
But with the Cavs, the rambling Spaniard might have finally found his forever home.
The Cavs might feel so strongly about Rubio that it affected the squad’s draft-day decision-making.
According to Lloyd, the team could have packaged its three second-round selections for another first-round pick but opted against it to keep a roster spot open:
“One member of the organization said the Cavs had chances to move into the late first round if they desired, but any player selected there comes with a guaranteed contract. The Cavs are very much interested in bringing back Ricky Rubio, whose expiring contract was used as matching salary in the LeVert trade. If they do, it would give them 14 guaranteed contracts. They didn’t want to add any others at this stage.”
Since he won’t likely be back until January, the club probably will likely need a cheap veteran point guard to act as a stop-gap until Rubio returns.
So stay tuned for the Cavs to make another move that pads the guard depth.
Cavs played best with Rubio on the floor