Trade rumor: Utah Jazz open to dealing Ricky Rubio?

USA Today’s Sam Amick suggested on a recent HoopsHype podcast that the Utah Jazz could be aiming to trade point guard Ricky Rubio.

At this point, if the Utah Jazz aren’t major participants at this season’s NBA trade deadline, it’s going to feel like a major let-down. Sitting at a record of 19-28 and with some clear dysfunction in terms of fit and focus on the court, it’s quite clear that this team is due for a shake-up. Not only that, but the Jazz find themselves in a bit of unfamiliar waters this season as the typically tight-lipped organization has found itself in the midst of several trade rumors.

Principally those rumors have circled around Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, Joe Johnson and Alec Burks, as we’ve covered quite extensively here on TheJNotes.com. And while we all have known that about the only untouchables on the Jazz roster are Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, it’s still surprising to learn that certain guys on the team are perhaps specifically being shopped.

Well, this latest rumor seems to indicate just that, and the speculated trade victim this time around is none other than Utah’s starting point guard Ricky Rubio. On a recent episode of The HoopsHype Podcast with Alex Kennedy, guest Sam Amick of USA Today had the following to say about the Utah Jazz, including Ricky Rubio:

“Listen, my understanding of Utah’s situation is that they’re as much of an open shop as there is in the league right now. Whether it’s Derrick Favors or Rodney Hood or even Ricky Rubio, they want to turn the page. They want to maximize Rudy Gobert’s prime. … Utah is going to look at everything right now.

They obviously don’t feel like they have their core and they’re trying to figure things out. But yeah, I think Rodney gets moved. I think Derrick will draw decent interest. And the Rubio one, I didn’t know what to make of it. But if they are truly open to parting ways with Ricky, I think he’d have a good market too.”

As we’ve all come to expect, it sounds like the departure of Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors is nearly a sure thing. However, this Rubio wrinkle is a bit of a new one. Make no mistake about it, Rubio has absolutely struggled in his first year as a Jazzman. His already poor field goal and three-point percentages are down from last season and he’s averaging career lows in both assists (4.8) and steals (1.6), two areas in which he was supposed to excel.

Not only that, but he’s had an overall negative impact on the team whenever he’s been on the floor. He’s second to last on the roster in plus/minus at -3.0, second to last in net rating at -5.1 and the Jazz post a significantly higher net rating with Rubio off the court (4.8) than on (-5.1).

In other words, despite the positives Rubio may bring both on and off the court (I know, I know, he tries really hard and he’s a great guy), it’s pretty obvious that he has not been a fit at all for the Jazz. The simple fact of the matter is that in today’s league that so emphasizes spacing, a starting point guard that can’t shoot is an absolute detriment. Rubio has proven that time and time again.

With all that being the case, it makes perfect sense why the Jazz would be more than willing to deal Rubio. However, the counter-argument that has arisen from several Jazz fans and reporters alike is that if Rubio has played so poorly this season, what kind of value does he have and who would even be willing to make a trade for him? Would Utah even be able to get anything back if they were to trade Ricky away?

I tend to agree with those concerns 100 percent. Sure, exchanging Rubio for a better player is a nice idea in theory, but as is often stated near the trade deadline, it takes two to tango.

That’s what makes part of Sam Amick’s statement so intriguing. He specifically said, “If [the Jazz] are truly open to parting ways with Ricky, I think he’d have a good market too.”

Maybe other teams’ execs are living in the past or still just buy into the hype that’s always followed the name “Ricky Rubio” around, but I find it pretty hard to believe that a player that’s struggled as much as Rubio has this year has that good of a market as Amick claimed. But if such is the case and Utah really is able to swing a beneficial deal that results in them dealing Ricky Rubio, you won’t hear any complaints from me.

The hope is clearly that Donovan Mitchell and a healthy Dante Exum will be the backcourt of the Utah Jazz’s future and, especially considering how poorly Rubio has played this year, it would make a lot more sense to look to fortify the roster elsewhere rather than trying to force a square peg into a round hole, which is about how the Rubio experiment has gone thus far.

Buckle up, guys. The trade deadline is just over two weeks away.

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