Veteran guard Ricky Rubio is going back to where his NBA career began. During the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to send Rubio and the 25th and 28th picks in the draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the 17th overall pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The initial report that a Rubio move was impending came from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski. The Timberwolves selected Serbian big man Aleksej Pokusevski with the 17th pick. Pokusevski played for the Serbian national team, and he also played for Greek team Olympiacos.
Rubio previously played for the Timberwolves from 2011 to 2017 after they made him the fifth overall pick in the 2009 Draft. His stint as a member of the Thunder didn’t last long, as he was a member of the team for mere days. Earlier this week, Rubio was traded from Phoenix to Oklahoma City as part of the deal that landed Chris Paul on the Suns. He started in 65 games for the Suns last season, and averaged 13 points, 8.8 assists (good for fourth in the entire NBA), 4.7 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game.
The Thunder are clearly in the midst of a rebuild, so it makes sense that they flipped Rubio,30, into another young asset, as opposed to keeping him on the roster. The Thunder have amassed an arsenal of picks over the next several years, and as such, they are well-positioned to build back into a Western Conference contender. Pokusevski could potentially be a big piece of that.
In Minnesota, Rubio will join a Timberwolves team that now features the top pick from the 2020 Draft, Anthony Edwards, as well as Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Rubio currently has two years remaining on the three-year, $51 million contract he signed with the Suns last offseason.