Interest in Ricky Rubio provides peek at Knicks' hand
Members within the Knicks organization would like to see Rubio in orange and blue. What would that do to the team this summer, though?
It’s been common knowledge for the better part of two decades that the New York Knicks are in need of a bona fide point guard that can organize and lead the offense as a floor general.
Whether it’s been Stephon Marbury, Raymond Felton or Derrick Rose, the team has just not been able to acquire that.
With the 2017 NBA draft less than three weeks away and the start of free agency less than four, the Knicks once again are presented with an opportunity to end its long search for a franchise point guard.
Holding the No. 8 overall pick during a draft with one of the deepest classes in years, New York could be presented with the opportunity of selecting Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, NC State’s Dennis Smith or France’s Frank Ntilikina depending on which talent is available.
But there is also the opportunity to pick up an already-established veteran, one with a pass-first mentality that could be immediately slotted into an offense that is expected to be centered around Kristaps Porzingis.
On Saturday, ESPN New York reported that some members of the Knicks’ front office are keen on trading for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio.
The 26-year-old put up his most productive NBA season last year, averaging 11.1 points and 9.1 assists per game. His facilitating has always been his strongest suit, which is what made him such a stellar prospect as an 18-year-old coming out of Spain.
That kind of vision in what is expected to be a Knicks triangle offense could help the team find new successes within the system despite previous failures.
The two teams previously discussed a deal involving Rubio during February’s trade deadline. New York was expected to send Rose in return before things fell through.
Rose will be a free agent this summer, meaning that deal is off the table unless the Knicks were able to execute a sign-and-trade. The Timberwolves are expected to make a push for Rose in free agency.
The Knicks could have plenty of cap space without Rose and if Carmelo Anthony waives his no-trade clause. That means Rubio’s $14.1 million salary next year won’t prove to be a problem.
However, it is unclear what the Knicks could offer to send to Minnesota for Rubio. A future draft picks and a player like Chasson Randle to provide depth at the point guard position could be a start.
If the Knicks were to acquire Rubio, it would most likely alter their draft plans as well. Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk would become the favorite to be the team’s pick while Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac and North Carolina’s Justin Jackson would also become viable options as immediate successors to Anthony if he is indeed traded.