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.