Ricky Rubio will be on the first season of a five-year $55 million contract in 2015-16 but the Minnesota Timberwolves are willing to let go of the Spanish point guard at the right price -- and are interested in top prospect D'Angelo Russell of Ohio State, according to a report.
Chad Ford of ESPN reported that Minnesota would trade Rubio to another NBA squad if “the right deal” came about. Ford also wrote that Minnesota general manager Flip Saunders likes Russell’s game and may draft the Ohio State guard in the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft, where the Timberwolves own the No. 1 overall pick. The NBA Draft is scheduled to take place June 25.
Ahead of Russell in most rookie rankings are big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of Duke. The Timberwolves could decide to trade down a spot or two and still have Russell available as a probable pick -- and eventually trade Rubio.
Pick numbers 2 through 5 are held by the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic, in that order. Other top rookie prospects include guards Emmanuel Mudiay, Justise Winslow, Mario Hezonja and center Kritaps Porzingis.
Rubio is one of the better passers in the league but has been criticized for a lack of efficiency in his field-goal shooting. The 24-year-old point guard averages 10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 2.3 steals per game in a four-year NBA career.
The Spanish point guard has also struggled with various injuries throughout his career, missing a total of 126 games.