Tag: Andre Miller

Minnesota Timberwolves v Sacramento Kings

Report: Timberwolves still want to trade Rick Rubio


Ricky Rubio says he doesn’t believe the Timberwolves will trade him.

On the other hand…

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

I’m hearing that the Minnesota Timberwolves are actually look at potentially moving off of Rubio at this point. They’ve seen enough, and they do not believe that he is the future, in spite of the fact that he’s only 24. Now, they’ve tested the trade waters. I’m hearing that they’re quiet right now, but that they could return to looking to see what they could get for Rubio once the season begins and some things shake out for some other teams, because they don’t have any specific trade partners at the moment.

The Associated Press’ Jon Krawczynski, who’s pretty plugged in to the Timberwolves, saw our previous report on Rubio being confident Minnesota will keep him and tweeted:

So, I wouldn’t take Bucher’s report as gospel.

But if the Timberwolves are convinced Rubio isn’t the answer at point guard – which seems like a premature conclusion given Rubio’s ability and age – it would be better to deal him sooner than later.

Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns give Minnesota a bright future. Losing Rubio – unless they get a suitable point guard in return – would probably hurt the Timberwolves in the short term. But perhaps they should focus more on maximizing the team when Wiggins and Towns hit their primes.

Again, Rubio is young enough to fit that arc. But if Flip Saunders believes Rubio just won’t hit the next level, Minnesota should trade him before other teams figure that out for themselves.

Rubio’s youth is an ever-diminishing asset. The four years and $55 million left on his contract look reasonable now, but that might now remain the case if Rubio falters this season.

The 39-year-old Andre Miller obviously isn’t Minnesota long-term answer, and it’s far to soon to anoint rookie Tyus Jones. So, this would be more about Rubio than anything else – which should be a red flag to potential trade partners. If the team that knows him best doesn’t believe in Rubio, why should others?

So, that leads to a question to be asked with every anonymously sourced report: Who has incentive to leak this information? It’s not the Timberwolves here. It might be Rubio if he’s unhappy, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. My best guess is it’s another team looking to stir the pot and possibly extract Rubio from Minnesota, which wouldn’t be the most credible source.

Ricky Rubio is confident Timberwolves not looking to trade him

Minnesota Timberwolves v Sacramento Kings

Ricky Rubio’s name has come up in increased trade speculation the last few weeks. And we mean speculation. An international basketball site took reports that Phil Jackson says the Knicks need more talent in the backcourt and combined with a Boston Globe report the Timberwolves are a little frustrated with the pace of improvement in Rubio’s game to create a trade rumor where nothing of substance exists. Other speculation surrounds the Nets. It’s August, so some people are talking about it.

Rubio says he doesn’t buy it.

He is in Dubai right now and said this to Gulf News (hat tip Fox Sports).

“I have confidence that the team wants me but you know in this league anybody can get traded,” said the flashy playmaker. “You don’t listen to the rumours. You just live day-by-day and that’s it.”

When asked if he wanted to stay with the long-suffering Timberwolves, Rubio gave a firm: “Yes.”

It would be a mistake for Minnesota to trade Rubio right now as their starting point guard unless they have a viable backup plan. And Zach LaVine is not a viable backup plan. (His athleticism is not in question, but his understanding of the game, his rate of turnovers, and his poor defense do not project as someone you want to be your starting point guard.) If Minnesota wants to move on from Rubio, the question becomes who do they move on to? Andre Miller is on the roster but he’s not the long-term answer, and Tyus Jones is a long ways off if he gets there at all.

Rubio has the potential to elevate the games of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns with his creativity on the floor. Minnesota has so much potential with this roster; they need to play it out for part of the season and evaluate how the pieces fit, then start to think about moves. Moving Rubio now — especially for what the Knicks or Nets can offer in return — is a bad idea.

But it’s August, so discuss it if you want.

Jose Calderon implies Clippers and Timberwolves are interested in him

Jose Calderon, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

The Knicks are reportedly interested in Jamal Crawford and Ricky Rubio.

Trading for either guard would almost certainly mean dealing Jose Calderon, New York’s only player making more than a minimum salary it can trade right now without his permission.

It’s practically impossible to match salaries for Crawford ($5,675,000) or Rubio ($12.7 million) without Calderon’s $7,402,812.

But do the Clippers or Timberwolves want Calderon?

He implies yes.

Maybe Calderon knows something. If the Knicks are shopping him, they might extend him the courtesy of clueing him in on trade talks.

But it’s just as possible Calderon is tired of seeing his name in trade rumors, listed as a piece New York wants to dump. He might just want to change the public perception of him, whether or not facts support it.

Calderon’s $7,708,427 salary for 2016-17, when he’s 35, would be a burden for either the Clippers or Timberwolves. But it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.

Calderon would be a better version of Pablo Prigioni as a reliable, non-Austin Rivers option behind Chris Paul at point guard for the Clippers. But Calderon would be more expensive, and the Clippers are already in the luxury tax. If they see him as the missing piece to a championship, though, that’s a small price to pay.

In Minnesota, Calderon would be a cheaper and older replacement for Rubio until Zach LaVine Tyus Jones is ready. The Timberwolves already have that in Andre Miller, though. But if the Knicks send back better assets – draft picks, young players – Calderon’s salary would probably be necessary to facilitate a deal.

Would the Clippers or Timberwolves take Calderon in a trade? Probably. Are they actually interested in him? That’s a much tougher question to answer.

Report: Timberwolves sign Tayshaun Prince

Boston Celtics v Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves re-signed Kevin Garnett and signed Andre Miller.

Enough veteran leadership on the young team?

Not for Flip Saunders.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Saunders coached Tayshaun Prince on the Pistons, but that was a long time ago. Prince, 35, is an even more methodical player and no longer an elite wing defender.

Still, his length and intelligence make him a capable defender. He can make jumpers, too, and he’s a solid passer for his position (though he bogs down the offense with the ball in his hands).

Prince played reasonably well for the Celtics and Pistons last season after the Grizzlies traded him, so he might have a little juice left. He was in over his head in Memphis, often starting for a fringe contender.

That shouldn’t be the case in Minnesota. He’ll fill a limited role, provide a good example for the team’s younger players and sometimes take minutes that slow the development of Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett and Nemanja Bjelica. (Andrew Wiggins is getting the same playing time regardless.)

There’s an outside but realistic chance the Timberwolves can compete for a playoff spot. For that reason, signing Prince makes sense. Minnesota wouldn’t want to find out later it was a veteran on the wing away from the postseason. If the Timberwolves fall from the race, Saunders can always turn more toward developing younger players.

Prince gives Minnesota 17 players – two more than the regular-season roster limit. The most likely cuts are Lorenzo Brown ($75,000 guaranteed) and Damjan Rudez (acquired in the Chase Budinger salary dump). Perhaps, the Timberwolves can trade Rudez and get something for him or deal another player in a more significant move. But they have to do something to trim the roster.

Ricky Rubio on Timberwolves: ‘I have to go pull this team in the playoffs’

Minnesota Timberwolves v Toronto Raptors

Kevin Garnett is the Timberwolves’ most-accomplished player.

Andre Miller is their oldest player.

Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are their most-important players.

But on any team, leadership naturally falls to the starting point guard and highest-paid player. Ricky Rubio, who fills both titles in Minnesota, is embracing that role.

Rubio, via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

“We know we’re young and we’re building,” Rubio told SI.com in a phone interview. “At the same time, I think we’re ready to win games. Last season we only won 16 games but it didn’t feel like we were a losing team at all. We were just lacking some things. Me personally, I have to go pull this team in the playoffs. I know it’s a big challenge, but I think we have the right assets, the right weapons to get it. I know we’re in the West side, it’s really tough, but I think we can make it happen. I have big expectations for next season.”

I don’t think it’s completely outlandish to suggest the Timberwolves could make the playoffs. They’re loaded with talent at every position:

  • Point guard: Rubio, Miller, Tyus Jones
  • Shooting guard: Kevin Martin, Zach LaVine
  • Small forward: Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Nemanja Bjelica
  • Power forward: Kevin Garnett, Gorgui Dieng, Adreian Payne, Anthony Bennett
  • Center: Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Pekovic

That is one heck of the depth chart.

But there are three major reasons Minnesota won’t make the playoffs:

1. Youth. As talented as those players are, many of them are still very young. They’ll probably need more time to develop and learn how to do the little things necessary to win.

2. Fit. Too many Timberwolves prefer to operate in the same areas of the court. They just don’t have enough floor spacers.

3.  Western Conference. It’s darn good.

Rubio could help, though. He’s reaching the age where he should take the next step. And a nifty passer, he could mitigate Minnesota’s spacing issues. He’ll have no shortage of talented players to throw passes. He’s the crux.

The Timberwolves probably won’t reach the postseason, but if they do, it very well could be because Rubio pulled them there.