The Timberwolves have traded point guard Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz for a 2018 first-round pick in the NBA Draft, the team confirmed Friday evening. Utah will send one of its two picks they own to Minnesota but the pick will be lottery protected.
“We’d like to thank Ricky for his time in Minnesota over the course of the last six-plus years,” Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau said in a statement. “Ricky has been a consummate professional over my time in Minnesota and has done tremendous things in the community. We appreciate all he’s done for the organization and wish him the best of luck in Utah.”
The Jazz had until midnight (July 1) to use $16 million in cap space or it wouldn't count towards their salary cap for next season. On draft night last week, Utah sent Trey Lyes to the Denver Nuggets, freeing up the space on the proviso it's used by midnight.
Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press reports, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor resisted trade proposals for Rubio all week, but clearly the Wolves' owner changed his mind.
Rubio is set to make $14 million in each of the next two seasons at the Timberwolves and Utah's top priority this offseason will be figuring out how to re-sign Gordon Heyward, who declined his team option.
Rubio played six seasons in Minnesota, averaging 10.3 points and 8.5 assists per game during that span.
He was the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, but he didn't come over to Minnesota until the 2011-12 season. The veteran was coming off a career season where he set career highs across the board.