On February 10, since it is less than a month, the winter transfer market in the NBA closes. That means that from now on the hornet’s nest of rumors is going to stir with good. Everyone wants something: title contenders seek to strengthen themselves, those who are not will try to achieve that status, those who have no way of being, will want to take advantage of the buying eagerness of others to operate in search of a better future: win young players , draft rounds, drop damaging contracts …
The Cavaliers’ exceptional first half of the season has made Ohio’s a project that has gone from being locked in a costly rebuild to settling in the playoff zone. With a young point guard who aims very high (Darius Garland-Evan Mobley-Jarrett Allen), the Cavs have become an ambitious and buyer team heading into this final stretch of the market. And, unfortunately, forced by circumstances: Ricky Rubio’s serious knee injury has left them without a player who was being essential as a brain and a unifier on the court. In one swift move, the Cavaliers seized veteran Rajon Rondo. But it’s not enough.
It’s funny, but the fact is, Ricky seemed destined to be a hot name in this market window. He was traded to Cleveland in the final year of his contract ($ 17.8 million). The Cavs were always going to consider an exit if the alternative was for the Spaniard to go free in June. A good sporting level, as was of course the case until his injury, was going to attract the attention of top-level teams that needed a point guard, but it was also going to make (it was the case) that the Cavs thought a lot about transferring to a An important player on a team that was going full blast. And that they only sat and listened if a very good offer came. Now? Ricky will not play until next season, when he will be 32 years old, and in Cleveland some are asking for a new contract for the Spanish point guard but the franchise will surely think more about making an upward offer to a veteran player who has suffered a serious knee injury. It is a common game that has many possible resolutions. But the truth is that many go through a change of scenery.
Ricky’s contract and draft picks
When would it happen? That’s a good question. According to Shams Charania, one of the journalists with the best sources when it comes to market movements, it cannot be ruled out that it will be in the coming weeks, before February 10: “The Cavaliers continue to look for formulas to improve their backcourt. outside) and rival teams are showing interest in a package that would consist of Ricky Rubio’s contract and draft picks. ” That is, there are teams that welcome sending an important player to Cleveland in exchange for draft rounds and a valued Ricky, in this case, for a contract that would balance that of the outgoing player but would be cleared from the ledgers the next summer. It’s an option, of course, for rebuilding franchises.
Evan Dammarell, a Cleveland journalist, brings to the table a name that has been linked to the Cavs for months: Caris LeVert, guard for the Indiana Pacers. LeVert is a more scorer player (18.7 points, 43% in shots) and less distributor (4 assists) than Ricky, but he could be a good complement for Garland and, in fact, he already sounded before the injury of the Spaniard, when the one who fell for the entire season was guard Collin Sexton. LeVert is a player who is very liked in Cleveland, the Pacers are going to go into a rebuilding process and he pays him (17.5 million) home with Ricky’s. Dammarell talks about Ricky, a protected first round and a second round is a real option – an offer the Cavs could make and the Pacers could accept. Also, he puts other names on the table: Dennis Schröder, Buddy Hield, Terrence Ross, Josh Jackson… None, not even Schröder, is a pure point guard like Ricky.
It is paradoxical: the Pacers would then be Ricky’s mother team, obviously off the slopes, until the end of the season. It is the same franchise that seemed to be his destiny with all certainty in 2019, when he came on the market after leaving the Jazz and ended up, in an unexpected turn, signing with the Phoenix Suns. Of course, there is also the option of Ricky receiving an extension offer from the Cavs, and of course the one to exhaust the season in Cleveland and go on the market as a free agent in the summer, to renew with the Cavs from scratch or to choose another destination. There will be no shortage of interested teams either. And, for example, from Boston they already speak that Spanish can be a worthwhile bet despite the injury. The Celtics miss a brain, a point guard who leads the team and puts distribution and judgment alongside the two young stars who play on the wings, the Jays: Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.