With Thursday's NBA trade deadline approaching, Timberwolves PG Ricky Rubio remains a "significant target" of the Knicks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who notes the Timberwolves are also engaged with other teams regarding a potential Rubio trade.
The Knicks are reportedly asking the Timberwolves for F Nemanja Bjelica as part of a potential Rubio for Derrick Rose trade, according to Marc Berman of the NY Post. Meanwhile, Minnesota is unlikely to trade Rubio unless they get a first round draft pick in return, reports Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report.
Such a deal would reunite Rose with his former Bulls coach in Tom Thibodeau. As an expiring contract, his acquisition would be one of low risk for Minnesota as they look to make a late season push towards the playoffs.
The Knicks need to make decisions about their future, both near and far. This season's fate doesn't look too promising. Adding a quality player in Rose last summer was supposed to deliver some explosiveness to the offense.
While Rose has shown flashes of brilliance here and there, his impact certainly hasn't resulted in more victories in the win column this season. The team is set to receive some much needed salary relief by letting his contract expire this coming summer. If they do that, however, they'll allow such a talented player to walk away and have nothing to show for it.
The Knicks are obviously in a very different boat. Still only 26 years old, Rubio could fit the bill as the point guard of the future that New York desperately needs. There's potential there. Rubio had his share of injury problems earlier in his career. He seems to have steered clear of any similiar hurdles over the last season and a half. With an 8.3 career assist per game average, Rubio runs the pick and roll quite well and would bring some international flavor to the team's offense. He's also a pest on the defensive end. Of course, he doesn't bring the same level of explosiveness as Rose. He's more a facilitator.
Trading for Rubio would mean making a bit of an investment for the Knicks. He's signed for just under $15 million per, over the next two seasons.
If they can get something of value back, there's absolutely reason for the Knicks to trade Rose. Nevertheless, investing in Rubio before really having the opportunity to explore the point guard market of the 2017 free agent class may put the team at a disadvantage. What's more, this forthcoming draft class is strong with the potential of impressive floor generals. Trading Rose should ideally allow the Knicks to reel in a young/future asset or two. At the same time, they should want to maintain flexibility. Such wiggle room to explore may be more valuable than acquiring Rubio right now.
This coming offseason should provide New York with time to reflect and regroup. Committing to Rubio's contract right away requires more of a deep dive. When taking the guard into consideration and subsequently comparing the potential alternatives, it may be better if New York waits this thing out.