With Rubio mentoring No. 5 pick Kris Dunn and the Kings interested in a Rubio deal, not much has changed in Minnesota for Rubio. That’s not necessarily the case for third(fourth?)-string point guard Tyus Jones.
There is still time until the 2016 NBA draft’s fifth overall selection, Kris Dunn, takes over as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard – which is why the franchise is still resisting trade overtures for Ricky Rubio, league sources told The Vertical.
The Sacramento Kings are the most determined of several teams expressing interest in finding a pathway to a Rubio deal, league sources said, but Minnesota president and coach Tom Thibodeau is reluctant to move Rubio – outside of bringing back a no-brainer package, of course – until Dunn’s progress illustrates this season that he’s ready to fully take over the team.
Thibodeau doesn’t anticipate Dunn becoming the starter until approximately 20 games into the regular season, league sources said.
Several teams – including Philadelphia and New Orleans – have shown interest in point guard Tyus Jones, 20, whom the Wolves are more open to moving in the short term, league sources said.
If 20 games into the season doesn’t qualify as “short term,” will Jones be traded tomorrow?
The Timberwolves are wise to stick with Rubio, who’s proven to be a good starting point guard. If Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine ascend quickly enough and Thibodeau’s defense takes hold, Rubio could push the team into the playoffs. Dunn probably isn’t ready for that responsibility, and it’s no given he ever will be. With three years left on Rubio’s contract and four left on Dunn’s, there’s time to gather more information.
Jones, the No. 24 pick last year, has been the odd man out, and that’s even more true since Minnesota drafted Dunn. The 76ers could use another point guard with Jerryd Bayless injured, and ditto the Pelicans with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans both out. The Timberwolves also have the insurance of Thibodeau-favorite John Lucas III as third point guard if they deal Jones.
I wouldn’t make a lopsided deal to pry Rubio from Minnesota if the Timberwolves are inclined to keep him. But getting Jones, a smart floor general and defensive pest, cheaply? That’s appealing.