Zach LaVine was nothing short of spectacular in winning his second straight Slam Dunk title on Saturday and by the end of this week he may win something else; the starting point guard job for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Incumbent Ricky Rubio is readily available and the feeling is that the Spanish guard could be moved prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
Darren Wolfson: Here’s a quote from #Twolves boss Milt Newton on the Rubio trade talk: “To this point, no one has called us about Ricky. Whatever is out there is not accurate. Will someone call? I don’t know, but if that happens, it behooves the organization that I listen.” - Scott Korzenowski: Didn't exactly deny that Wolves are shopping him, though. Just said no one has called. - Darren Wolfson: I've texted some non-Wolves FO folks and nobody has told me they're shopping him. But are the Wolves married to him? I'd say no.
As you are going forward with the franchise, you had a lot of losing and you don’t take losing easily. Was there a period of time where you thought, “Maybe this isn’t a good fit that isn’t going to work out”? Now, of course, you are in a situation where you have a long-term contract and there are a couple of cornerstone talents on the roster, which are so important in the NBA. Can you describe that evolution? Ricky Rubio: No, I never thought about leaving this franchise, for a lot of reasons. One of them is because they trusted me from the beginning. And I trust them. My first year I think we would have made the playoffs if I wouldn’t get hurt, but like I said, you can’t blame it on what happened — we didn’t make the playoffs. But I feel like I really didn’t have the opportunity to take this team to the playoffs. My first year we almost did it, my second year I was hurt. My third year we won 40 games, which is a pretty good amount, and then last year I got hurt again.
What do you think prompted the Rubio trade rumors? Do you think other teams called to see if he might be available, or was it something prompted on the TWolves side to gauge interest? Jerry Zgoda: My hunch is most of that is driven by his agent and uninformed media people. Certainly, they'd trade him if they can upgrade there and get more of a scoring point guard but they're not trading him to make room for Andre and Tyus. That's complete, utter nonsense
Jon Krawczynski: After rumors swirled this month & w/camp looming, Wolves GM Milt Newton tells AP: "We're not talking to anybody about trading Ricky."
Jon Krawczynski: Wolves GM Milt Newton tells AP that Rubio "is an integral part of our team" and "one of the best facilitators in the NBA."
It will be interesting to see how patient Mitchell is with point guard Ricky Rubio. The Wolves want Rubio to relax at long last, to understand he's no longer thought of as the franchise's savior -- or not even one of the team's top three talents. But it wasn't Mitchell who gave Rubio a $56 million extension last year -- it was Saunders, wearing his Prez O'Basketball Ops hat.
Ric Bucher: I'm hearing that the Minnesota Timberwolves are actually looking at potentially moving Ricky Rubio.
But Rubio, in Dubai to add star power to the BasicBall Academy summer camps at the Dubai World Trade Centre, denied he was about to move to the Big Apple or anywhere else. He told Gulf News he believes he will stay with his first and so far only NBA team. “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.”
October 5, 2022 | 12:55 pm EDT Update
“It would mean everything in the world to me to be back in the NBA,” DeMarcus Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “I know I belong in this league. I feel like I’ve paid my dues and earned my stripes. I’ve hit some bumps in the road with injuries and I’ve always worked my way back to be 100 percent healthy. I’ve worked my tail off to get back to this point. I just want the opportunity to show the work I’ve put in and continue to put in. I also just want an opportunity to also earn my keep and that’s all I really want. I have a lot left in the tank. A whole lot. I feel like I’ve actually become an even better player, just sharpening all my skills. I’ve had nothing but time in the gym. I’ve gotten better in all aspects of my game.
But NBA executives continue to have questions about his character and what he brings to a locker room. In a phone interview with Yahoo Sports from his home in Las Vegas, the 6-foot-10 center sought to provide answers to those questions. “Have I made mistakes? Absolutely,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “Have I done things the wrong way? Absolutely. For that, I’m very apologetic. But I’ve done even more things the correct way and I’ve done even more positive things compared to my negatives. I just don’t want those positives to be overlooked. And obviously, whenever it gets to the point where the negatives outweigh the positives, you should probably move away from him. That’s just how life goes. But I don’t believe I’m in that boat. I’m just asking for a chance to show my growth as a man and a player.”
Cousins said he’s working out every day from basketball drill sessions, conditioning, weight lifting and body maintenance. He’s doing it all without a guarantee of ever touching an NBA court again. But that’s his motivation. “I’m just trying to control what I can control,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “This process can get repetitive and get to the point where it can kind of drive you crazy, but you just have to fall in love with the process. Every day I’m working out to make sure I’m better than I was the previous day. So whenever the opportunity does come about and my name is called upon, I’ll be prepared.”
Christos Tsaltas: Wizards guard/forward Corey Kispert will miss approximately 4-6 weeks due to a sprained left ankle. Kispert suffered the injury after stepping on an opponent’s foot during the first quarter of Sunday’s preseason game in Japan vs. the Golden State Warriors. #DCAboveAll
October 5, 2022 | 12:40 pm EDT Update
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ ongoing battle for the starting small forward spot will be one player short in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Sources tell cleveland.com Dylan Windler did not make the trip for the preseason opener against the 76ers because of an injured right ankle suffered near the end of practice Tuesday. Windler stayed back in Cleveland for treatment. A source says the right ankle injury is considered “minor.”
Shaquille O’Neal brought up the topic of James and him closing in on Abdul-Jabbar’s record on the show “IMPAULSIVE” (at the 26:42 mark) and said that James passing Abdul-Jabbar’s record actually has him jealous. “LeBron’s about to do something that hasn’t been done in a long time and I think he will put his move up there,” Shaquille O’Neal said. “To pass up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I can truthfully say I’m jealous of that feat.” Although he said that Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever in his eyes, he had plenty of praise for LeBron James and the record he is about to break.