Ricky Rubio says he’s excited to play for “organization that really believed in me”

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Ricky Rubio was never Tom Thibodeau’s favorite in Minnesota, even though he defended well and could set up guys like Karl-Anthony Towns with deft passing.

Now Jeff Teague is running the show in Minnesota and Rubio has been traded to Utah, where he will step into the shoes of George Hill, for a team that will take a step back without Gordon Hayward and will need shot creation.

Rubio, as you would expect, put a positive spin on it speaking to Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News.

“To get traded, it’s not fun, but I was really excited to go to an organization that really believed in me,” he said. “It’s a great basketball organization with a good tradition. It was a little weird. I was six years in Minnesota. My name was in the papers with rumors and all that stuff for the last couple years, but never traded. This summer, I guess it was time. I have no regrets. I had a great time in Minnesota, but I think it was time for the both of us to move on. I think it was that time of our relationship that it didn’t work out the way we wanted, and we move on….

“Having the GM talk that good about me, it’s great,” he said. “The confidence that they showed in me from the beginning, it’s awesome, and now I have to answer that confidence with good games. I have confidence in me, and I’ve worked hard this summer. I think I can bring a lot to that team.”

Rubio is going to have a great opportunity in Utah. The Jazz will be a strong defensive team again, but the challenge will be shot creation and scoring — Rubio is going to be tasked with a lot of that. He needs to shoot well, like he did after the All-Star break last year, and use his skills in transition to get the Jazz some easy buckets.

Rubio has two years, $29 million left on his contract. Play well in Utah the next couple of years and he will make himself some money in the summer of 2019.