SportsThe ups and downs of Ricky Rubio, now from Minnesota to Cleveland

The ups and downs of Ricky Rubio, now from Minnesota to Cleveland


Ricky Rubio tries to beat Campazzo in the Spain-Argentina match.THOMAS COEX / AFP

Ricky Rubio is becoming so used to being sent from one team to another by the NBA that he didn’t flinch when he learned yesterday in Tokyo that Minnesota had traded him to Cleveland. The 30-year-old guard took the opportunity to relax in the Olympic Village during the usual rest day enjoyed by the players of the Spanish team after each game. The day before, his performance was instrumental in Spain’s victory over Argentina at the Saitama Super Arena.

Early in the morning in Tokyo, and shortly before the outcome of the draftNews of his transfer to Cleveland came from the United States. Minnesota Timberwolves gets 27-year-old forward Taurean Prince, a second-round pick of the draft of 2022 and a sum of money not determined but that in the NBA is very limited.

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It is the second player trade affecting Ricky in the past eight months. This time he took it with more philosophy, among other things because his second stage in Minnesota was not satisfactory and because it will be necessary to see if it will definitely make a stop in Cleveland or will it be a stopover. The Celtics, the Lakers and the Clippers are some of the teams that have taken an interest in him.

It was worse in November. Then, when he had already packed his bags to return to Phoenix, he was informed that his destination was Oklahoma City. His representative agency quickly pulled the strings and ended up returning to Minnesota, to the team that chose him in fifth place in the 2009 draft and in which, after winning the 2010 Euroleague with Barcelona, ​​he started a six-season stage. In 2017 he signed for the Utah Jazz and in 2019, for the Phoenix Suns.

Cleveland Cavaliers finished last season second to last in the Eastern Conference with 22 wins and 50 losses. It was the third consecutive season in which he did not qualify for the playoffs after LeBron James closed a second stage in the team during which he played four finals in a row and won the title in 2016. Cleveland currently has 32-year-old center Kevin Love as the main figure, although he is also affected by rumors handover. Love and Ricky played together for three seasons in Minnesota, until the center went to the Cavaliers.

“What a business”

After the November 2020 trade that brought Chris Paul to Phoenix and initially sent Ricky to Oklahoma City, the Masnou point guard reacted with a laconic tweet: “What a deal.” Later he made his position more explicit in the face of this type of situation, which is often uncomfortable and untimely for the players and their families. “By signing you accept conditions, but there are forms and forms. Players are privileged, but those who are in charge of these things have to understand that in addition to being players we are also people. It is not a dish of good taste that when you are involved in a project, you leave your skin and see that it is working, at the first change you have to go ”. He was very sorry for that turn. “Before the pandemic hit, I think I was playing my best basketball,” he said at the end of the season. “I was coming off a great summer with the national team at the World Cup, and then I played a great year in Phoenix. I was finishing the season very strong and then the pandemic hit and interrupted my good moment of play ”.

Ricky’s first months on his return to Minnesota were difficult. He was a substitute for D’Angelo Russell, with whom he did not get on very well. But Russell was injured, Ricky regained the title and the two improved their performance. Coach Ryan Saunders was relieved in February by Chris Finch, with whom Ricky was more comfortable on the court. But he could not prevent his final statistics from being the worst of his NBA career with an average of 8.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 26 minutes. Anthony Edwards, the number one in the draft of 2020, praised the leadership that Ricky exercised in the team, where he also played alongside Juancho Hernangómez. The next season concludes the three-year extension of the contract that Ricky signed in July 2019 and that ensures a token of 17 million dollars, 14.3 million euros, next season.

Last season was especially tough for him. “I felt very comfortable (in Phoenix) and suddenly (the transfer) changes your life. After passing the covid, the double transfer. There are many changes that affect you personally and it has been hard to adapt to everything, “he explained in an interview in EL PAÍS. He made the decision to give up the Olympics. The calls from his teammates and the advice of his wife Sara made him reconsider the idea. And in the first two games he has exhibited a level that he demonstrated in the World Cup that Spain won and was elected the MVP.

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