Ricky Rubio’s second stint in Minnesota turned out to be a brief one.
The Wolves reportedly traded the veteran guard to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday for Taurean Prince, a 2022 second-round pick and cash. The deal came hours before the NBA draft was held.
Rubio, 30, was acquired by the Wolves last November after he was dealt by Phoenix to Oklahoma City in the Chris Paul trade. Rubio was expected to be a good fit because he would add a veteran leader for young coach Ryan Saunders. Rubio and Saunders were close and Rubio had played for Ryan’s dad, Flip, when he coached the Wolves. Flip died from complications associated with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2015.
While Wolves standout rookie Anthony Edwards credited Rubio with helping him make the transition to the NBA, Saunders was fired in February after a 7-24 start and it became clear the Wolves would look to move on from Rubio. Rubio averaged a career-low 8.6 points and 6.4 assists in 68 games and his .388 field-goal percentage was his lowest since he had a .374 percentage in 2015-16 with the Wolves.
Rubio, who is currently playing for Spain in the Olympics, had added value because he will be on the last season of a three-year, $51 million contract.
Prince, the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft by Utah, can play both forward spots and has spent time with Atlanta, Brooklyn and Cleveland in five NBA seasons. The 27-year-old averaged 9.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, while shooting 40 percent from the field, in 41 games last season with the Nets and Cavaliers. He has averaged 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in his career.