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Timberwolves trade Ricky Rubio to Jazz

Timberwolves trade Ricky Rubio to Jazz

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has acquired point guard Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for a protected future first-round pick from Oklahoma City, pending the outcome of a successful physical.

“We’d like to thank Ricky for his time in Minnesota over the course of the last six-plus years,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau. “Ricky has been a consummate professional over my time in Minnesota and has done tremendous things in the community. We appreciate all he’s done for the organization and wish him the best of luck in Utah.”

Rubio (6-4, 190, Spain) appeared in 75 games (all starts) for the Timberwolves this season, averaging career highs of 11.1 points and 9.1 assists while adding 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 32.9 minutes of action. The point guard finished the season ranked fourth in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.5), fifth in assists per game, ninth in steals and 11th in free throw percentage (.891), and also graded second in pure point rating (PPR) at 10.7 (trailing only Chris Paul). Rubio also registered 25 point/assist double-doubles, including 14 of them in 24 games post All-Star Break, when he increased his averages to 16.0 points, 10.5 assists with 1.5 steals while shooting .353 from three-point range.

Originally selected in the first round (fifth overall selection) of the 2009 NBA Draft by Minnesota, the 26-year-old Spaniard appeared in 353 career games (333 starts) over six seasons with the Timberwolves, and owns career averages of 10.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 8.5 assists in 31.8 minutes. He leaves the Wolves as the franchise’s all-time leader in both assists (8.5) and steals per game (2.1) as well as point/assist double-doubles (83), while ranking behind only Kevin Garnett in total assists (2991) and steals (747).

Over his first six NBA seasons, Rubio has ranked in the top five in the league in assists per game three times (five times in top 10), and in the top 10 in steals four times. He earned 2011-12 All-Rookie First Team honors while finishing second to Kyrie Irving in Rookie of the Year balloting.

Prior to joining the NBA, Rubio played six seasons (2005-11) professionally in the Spanish ACB League for Joventus (2005-09) and FC Barcelona (2009-11) after making his debut at the age of 14, the youngest player ever to compete in the ACB to that point.

A native of El Masnou, Spain, Rubio has represented his home country at both the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where at age 17 he became the youngest player ever to participate in a men’s gold medal game. He began his international career in 2005 on Spain’s U16 team, and in 2006 was named MVP the 2006 FIBA Europe U16 championships after leading Spain to the gold medal.

Rubio joins what was the most international team in the NBA in 2016-17, featuring seven players born outside of the United States representing five other countries. In addition to the U.S., players on the current Jazz roster now hail from Australia (two), France (two), Brazil, Spain and the Ukraine.

Rudy Gobert makes All-Defensive First Team

The NBA today announced that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been named to the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive First Team, marking the first selection of his career. Receiving 196 total points (97 First Team votes), he was the second-leading vote getter and an overwhelming selection, as chosen by a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. He becomes the first Jazz player since 2005-06 (Andrei Kirilenko) to be named to an All-NBA Defensive Team. He is also a finalist for both NBA Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player, which will be awarded tonight as part of the inaugural NBA Awards show live on TNT (7 p.m. MT).

Gobert was also named to the All-NBA Second Team in May. Appearing in 81 games (all starts), Gobert averaged career highs of 14.0 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game while posting career-bests in field goal percentage (.662) and free throw percentage (.653) while helping the Jazz to their first 50-win season since 2009-10. He led the NBA in total blocks (214), blocks per game (2.6), block percentage (6.4), defensive win shares (6.0), defensive real plus/minus (6.03), true shooting percentage (.683) and points per shot (1.82). He finished third in offensive rating (129.0) and defensive rating (99.2), the only player in the NBA to finish in the top-five in both categories. His .662 mark from the field is the best for a single-season in franchise history and ranked second in the NBA this year.

The fourth-year center became the first player in franchise history and the first NBA player since 2009-10 to compile 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 blocks in a single season. In addition, he now ranks seventh on the Jazz all-time blocks list (579). Gobert recorded a league-best 42 consecutive games with at least one block and led the league with four games of at least six blocks, eight games with five blocks, 18 games with four blocks, 42 games with three blocks, 63 games with two blocks and 77 games with one block. He anchored a Jazz defense that led the league in opponent points per game (96.8), finished second in opponent field goal percentage (.443) and third in defensive rating (102.7).

Utah Jazz seek shooter

Here’s the Deseret Morning News reporting on the Jazz, who continue to build upward as they try to make themselves a serious contender.

The Utah Jazz aren’t dominating the NBA social media buzz a la the New York Knicks, but they are hard at work trying to improve their team as tonight’s draft approaches.

Their target: shooting.

The Jazz remain “very active” in trying to trade for or move up to draft a shooter who can make an immediate impact on the roster, sources told the Deseret News.

Utah has two late first-round picks — its own selection, No. 24, and the Warriors’ slot, No. 30 — and the Jazz are trying to parlay those choices into the best available shooter in the 12-17 range, sources said. To do that in this loaded draft, Utah would likely need to sweeten the pot with another asset or two.

As pretty much everybody predicted, the Warriors have eliminated the Jazz. As most predicted, it happened in the form of a 4-0 sweep. The Warriors now advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they’ll play the winner of the Spurs vs Rockets series. Here’s the Bay Area News Group reporting:

Now they await the winner of the Rockets and Spurs series, which sits at 2-2. If it ends in six, the West Finals start in Oracle Arena on Sunday. If it extends to seven, the West Finals start in Oracle on Tuesday.

Either way, a rested, steamrolling Warriors team will be awaiting as monster favorites, having won 23 of their last 24 games dating back to mid-March and all eight of their playoff games by margins of 12, 29, 6, 25, 12, 11, 11 and 26 points.

But there were at least tiny moments of adversity on Monday night.

Early on, it didn’t look like it’d be that way. After hitting only one shot in a slow Game 3, Klay Thompson opened the scoring with a pair of jumpers. Then Steph Curry hit a pair of 3s. Then Kevin Durant found Curry on a creative give-and-go layup on a baseline out of bounds play.

Meanwhile, the Jazz offense slumped against a locked in Warriors defense, missing their first 10 two-point shots and going only 6-of-25 in the first quarter. A 12-3 lead became a 21-7 lead became a 39-17 first quarter cushion — similar to the 45-22 first quarter they popped on the Blazers in Game 4.

New Utah Jazz NBA playoff shirts

After white-out conditions for the 2017 NBA Playoffs First Round at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Utah Jazz fans will be dressed in the team colors of navy, gold and green for the Western Conference Semifinals. The first two home games are set for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 and 7 p.m. on Monday, May 8 against the Golden State Warriors.

ArenaTshirtMockupThe tri-colored “Take Note” T-shirts, presented by Zions Bank and Key Bank respectively, will be placed on each chair at the 19,911-seat facility for fans to wear for the first two home playoff games. Related to the design of the tri-colored basketball at midcourt, each section in the lower and upper bowls of Vivint Smart Home Arena will have navy, gold or green T-shirts.

George Hill clutch from FT line for Jazz

Here’s the Desert News reporting on the Jazz and their first round playoff series vs the Clippers:

George Hill clutch from FT line for Jazz

Despite being an 80 percent free-throw shooter during the regular season, George Hill came into Tuesday night’s playoff game in Los Angeles as the fifth-best foul shooter for the Jazz during the playoffs. So perhaps he was a good choice for the Clippers to put at the line in the closing seconds with the Jazz clinging to precarious leads.

Hill went to the line with 10.8 seconds left and the Jazz up by three points and again with 4.0 seconds left and his team up by two. In both cases, Hill coolly swished both free throws to allow the Jazz to hang on for a 96-92 victory.

Afterward, Hill said he welcomed the opportunity to be put on the line in a pressurized situation and said he goes through it every day in practice.

“Most definitely — we have a shooting competition every day in practice to see who’s the best free-throw shooter,” he said. “We’ve got a belt that we give out to the best free-throw shooter for the month. It’s been in my locker, Gordon’s locker and Joe Ingles’ locker most of the year. So we take a challenge in that.”

Rudy Gobert suffers knee injury

The Utah Jazz enjoyed a big win in Game 1 of their first round playoff series in L.A. against the Clippers, but their star center suffered a knee injury just seconds into the game. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

Rudy Gobert suffers knee injury

The Utah Jazz’s first playoff game in five years couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start.

It couldn’t have had a better finish — well, almost.

Despite playing all but 17 seconds without defensive terror Rudy Gobert, the Jazz took a 1-0 first-round series lead over the Los Angles Clippers with a shocking 97-95 win at Staples Center after veteran forward Joe Johnson dropped in a stunning game-winning floater at the buzzer…

Seconds into the organization’s first playoff game since 2012, Hayward made a pass that sailed way above Gobert’s head into the Staples Center crowd.

It wasn’t a bad pass. Normally, in fact, the pass would’ve been right on target.

Problem was, Gobert wasn’t standing up. The 7-foot-1 center was crawling on the court in agony, having just injured his left knee while setting a screen for Hayward.

State of Jazz in home stretch of season

As the playoff race intensifies, here’s the Salt Lake Tribune reporting on the Jazz:

With a little over two weeks remaining in the regular season, Utah’s playoff positioning continues to be fluid. The Jazz have been mostly in the fourth spot since the All-Star break. But that reality — and the home-floor advantage that comes with it — is tenuous at best.

The Clippers have an easier remaining schedule than the Jazz, and Saturday’s win over Utah gives Los Angeles the tiebreaker, should the two teams finish with identical records.

But heading into Monday night’s home matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Jazz are frankly less worried about playoff positioning, and more worried about simply getting back to playing good basketball.

“Everyone wants to talk about the playoffs, but honestly we just have to get back to who we are,” Utah shooting guard Rodney Hood said. “We have to get back to playing well regardless. If we can do that, we’ll be fine.”

Rudy Gobert fined by NBA

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been fined $25,000 for making physical contact with a game official, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 5:19 remaining in the third quarter of the Jazz’s 109-95 win over the Bucks on Feb. 24 at BMO Harris Bradley Center.

The 33-19 Jazz have the 4th best record in the Western conference. Things look good. But after averaging 16.0 points per game or more over the last two seasons, power forward Derrick Favors, coming off injury, has had a fairly quiet season, putting up 9.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game. That court time could very well increase as he gets more comfortable, of course. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

Derrick Favors having quiet season so far

Jazz coach Quin Snyder said he had a chat with Favors before Monday’s game, trying to keep his talented 25-year-old’s spirits up. On Saturday night, Favors seemed dejected, admitted he was frustrated and said he was just trying to get to the offseason healthy.

Two nights later, Favors was back to his old self after a 20-point, 10-rebound outing in a 120-95 thrashing of Atlanta.

“We talked a little bit about it before the game. It requires him to stay upbeat and stay positive and continue to do the things that he’s been successful doing,” Snyder said. “He’s done a great job preparing himself this year. It will come. It’s happening. Just sometimes things don’t happen as quickly as you want. He just can’t get discouraged and frustrated. Keep working and we’ll keep making sure he’s in a good place.”

Jazz schedule NBA Math Hoops Live event

The Utah Jazz will teach math to local students through basketball during an NBA Math Hoops Live event on Monday, Jan. 30 at the Zions Bank Basketball Center beginning at 4 p.m.

NBA Math Hoops is a fast-paced board game that teaches students fundamental math skills through basketball stats of their favorite Jazz and NBA players. A full-size, live version of the game will be played on the Jazz practice court with help from guards Shelvin Mack and Raul Neto.

The Jazz, with support from Larry H. Miller Charities, introduced this first-year program at the start of the season into 15 schools and non-profits in the Salt Lake Valley. More than 500 youth have been learning basic arithmetic, geometry, percentages and statistical analysis through an engaging curriculum.

The educational event on Monday will feature 40 students from Franklin Elementary and Bryant Middle School, who were selected to attend the event by showing exceptional dedication to the program, split up into two teams with Mack and Neto on each squad.

The court will be set up to mimic the board game, with numbers placed around the floor as shot locations. With two halves of play, students will be given fundamental math problems to complete, which will unlock different locations for the players to shoot from on the court. Once the math problem has been solved correctly, the students will direct their Jazz teammate to the shot location to earn points on the scoreboard.

At the end of the game, the Jazz players will talk to the attendees about the importance of math in their everyday lives, as well as take a group photo.

The Jazz Math Hoops program, in conjunction with the non-profit Learn Fresh, will conclude in early April with a regional tournament for all of the student participants.

The Utah Jazz vs Cleveland Cavaliers home game on Tuesday, Jan. 10 will be broadcast live in virtual reality, as part of NBA Digital and NextVR’s season-long initiative to deliver weekly games in VR through NBA LEAGUE PASS.

This programming marks the first regular schedule of live games delivered in VR by a professional sports league.

The VR broadcasts are fully produced with dedicated announcers, multiple unmanned camera angles and optimized graphics. Game breaks are filled with in-venue entertainment, behind-the-scenes footage from the arena and VR-specific commentary.

“The Utah Jazz are excited to be featured in two virtual reality broadcasts by the NBA this season,” said Utah Jazz President Steve Starks. “We support the NBA’s drive forward in VR innovation and the capability of giving our global fan base courtside seats for Jazz games through technology.”

For local viewers, the VR broadcast of Utah-Cleveland game will be blacked out. More information on the NBA LEAGUE PASS VR Game of the Week is available at http://www.nba.com/vr.

The Utah Jazz game at Oklahoma City on Feb. 28 is also on the NBA VR broadcast schedule.

George Hill the second-leading scorer on Jazz

George Hill’s individual impact on the Jazz is obvious.

On a team that struggles to handle the ball, Hill’s low turnover rate is badly needed. On a team that craves perimeter scoring, the guard is dropping 20 points a night. And on a team that hasn’t defended opposing point guards very well, Hill is one of the NBA’s best in that category.

But for all of the things Hill brings the Jazz — he returned from a sprained toe in Thursday night’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers — the biggest boon Utah receives from his presence is arguably his ripple effect.

Things simply look easier for the Jazz this season when he is on the floor. The defense is whole. The offense looks more crisp, more lethal. And that’s something the Jazz have sorely needed. Yes, they treaded water for the last 13 games, and have even gained a bit of ground. But when Hill plays, the Jazz tend to overwhelm their opposition in spurts. And that’s exactly what happened during the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s win over Philadelphia.

– Salt Lake Tribune

Quick Take:  The Jazz are 20-13 this season and are tied with the Thunder for the 5th best record in the Western conference. Hill is the team’s second leading scorer, behind Gordon Hayward (22.3 ppg), though he’s averaging just 4.3 apg. Overall, they are a very solid squad with definite potential to keep rising.

Derrick Favors should return soon for Utah Jazz

Derrick Favors won’t know until Wednesday if he’s going to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

But at least the signs are positive for the Utah Jazz starting power forward.

Favors practiced on Monday morning, doing almost everything, according to coach Quin Snyder. He was made available to the media, which doesn’t happen unless it looks as if he’s going to play. He will practice on Tuesday and go through Wednesday morning’s shootaround.

So even if he doesn’t make it back into the lineup by Wednesday night, Favors’ rehabilitation from a bone contusion is trending upward.

– Salt Lake Tribune

Quick Take: The Jazz are 15-10 this season, which is the 7th best record in the Western conference, and half a game behind the 6-seed Thunder. They’ve played well despite multiple injuries to several of their most important players. Definitely keep a closer watch on the Jazz once Favors is back.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Utah Jazz’s George Hill today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 6.

James led the unbeaten Cavaliers to a 3-0 week, averaging 24.7 points (fourth in the East), 11.3 assists (first in the East) and 9.3 rebounds. On Nov. 3, he scored a season-high 30 points and added 12 assists and seven rebounds in a 128-122 win over the Boston Celtics. He followed that performance with 25 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds and two steals in a 102-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 5. During the game, James passed Hakeem Olajuwon for 10th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Hill helped the Jazz to a 3-1 week behind averages of 20.8 points, 5.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds. He connected on 31-of-53 (58.5 percent) shots from the field, including 11-of-20 (55.0 percent) from three-point range. On Nov. 2, he scored a season-high 25 points to go with six rebounds and four assists in a 97-81 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Hill capped his week by recording 23 points and a season-high nine assists in a 114-109 win over the New York Knicks on Nov. 6. Utah improved to 4-0 when Hill scores at least 20 points.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Dwight Howard, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Houston’s James Harden, the LA Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Orlando’s Evan Fournier, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

The Utah Jazz have recalled forward Joel Bolomboy from the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz’s exclusively owned and operated NBA D-League team. He will re-join the team prior to tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.

This marked the first assignment this season for Bolomboy (6-9, 235, Weber State). He has appeared in two games for the Jazz this season, averaging 1.5 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.5 blocked shots in 2.6 minutes per game. He registered three points, one rebound and one blocked shot at Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 30.

Bolomboy is the fifth player to be assigned to the D-League under the Jazz-Stars single affiliation. Other players on the current Jazz roster with D-League experience include Rudy Gobert and Shelvin Mack.

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has assigned forward Joel Bolomboy to the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz’s exclusively owned and operated NBA D-League team. He is expected to participate in Stars practice today at Taylorsville Recreation Center.

This will be the first assignment this season for Bolomboy. Bolomboy (6-9, 235, Weber State) has appeared in two games for the Jazz this season, averaging 1.5 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.5 blocked shots in 2.6 minutes per game. He registered three points, one rebound and one blocked shot at Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 30.

Bolomboy is the fifth player to be assigned to the D-League under the Jazz-Stars single affiliation. Other players on the current Jazz roster with D-League experience include Rudy Gobert and Shelvin Mack.

Utah Jazz waive Chris Johnson

NBA news: Utah Jazz waive Chris Johnson

The Utah Jazz have waived forward Chris Johnson. Following the move, Utah’s roster now stands at 15 players.

Johnson (6-6, 206, Dayton) appeared in all six preseason games for the Jazz, averaging 5.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11.2 minutes. He appeared in 82 games (two starts) for Utah over the past two seasons, averaging 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per contest.

The 6-6 forward originally signed a 10-day contract with the Jazz during the 2014-15 season before signing a multi-year deal on March 26, 2015.

Rodney Hood returns from injury

Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune with an update on Rodney Hood, who averaged 14.5 points per game last season and remains a key member of the Utah Jazz:

Rodney Hood returns from injury

Shots were short all night for the Utah Jazz’s starting shooting guard. His explosion to the rim off the dribble wasn’t there, and there were times he was frustrated by the shots he was missing.

All the same, it was a return, and Hood was glad to get out onto the floor. In what was an 88-84 preseason loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, Hood was happy to work out the kinks in a game that didn’t count. Now, he can move on to the real thing.

“I’ll be ready for the regular season,” Hood said. “I hadn’t been practicing or anything, so it was good to get out there and be able to take contact.”

That’s why the shooting struggles, and the overall rustiness mattered little to Hood. His return to health from the sprained left hand was more important.

The Jazz waived forward Eric Dawson, forward/guard Quincy Ford and guard Marcus Paige today.

Eric Dawson (6-9, 255, Mideastern State) appeared in one preseason game, scoring two points in 13 minutes of action vs. Phoenix on Oct. 12. He signed as a free agent on Sept. 21.

Quincy Ford (6-8, 225, Northeastern) scored two points in 12 minutes vs. the Suns on Oct. 12. He signed as a free agent on Sept. 6 after competing for the Jazz entries in both the Utah Jazz Summer League and NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Paige (6-2, 175, North Carolina) averaged 5.5 points and 1.5 assists in two preseason games for Utah. He also competed at the Utah Jazz Summer League and NBA Summer League for the Jazz entries.

The Jazz roster now stands at 17 players.

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