NBA Trade Rumors: New York Knicks Could Trade Jose Calderon for Ricky Rubio This Offseason
The New York Knicks are coming off their worst season in franchise history. It wasn't exactly the stellar beginning that Phil Jackson had in mind. Injuries played a big factor, but inconsistency at the point guard position was also a reason for their 17-65 record.
According to multiple reports, the Knicks are "seriously interested" in making a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio.
At the moment Rubio is under contract with the Timberwolves until the 2018-2019 season in which he is scheduled to make $55 million over the next four seasons. The 24-year-old guard out of Barcelona signed a contract extension just last year.
The Knicks could certainly use an upgrade at the point guard position. Last season the Knicks ranked 19th in team assists playing in a terrible Eastern Conference. Shane Larkin, who is now with the Brooklyn Nets, actually led the Knicks in total assists last season with 226. Joe Calderon, another Spanish point guard, led the Knicks in assists per game last seasons, but was only able to play in 42 games. Calderon is also nine years older than Rubio, and has just two more years remaining on his contract.
Rubio is more of a John Stockton type of point guard rather than a Magic Johnson or Russell Westbrook breed. He lacks elite scoring abilities and a great three point shot, and he only averages 10.2 points per game. However, Rubio is one of the best pure passing point guards in the game today. Over the last two seasons he has averaged 8.6 and 8.8 assists per game (almost twice as much as any Knicks player last season) with pin-point precision passing. Rubio's dribbling has dramatically improved since making the transition to the NBA from the Spanish League.
Unfortunately for Rubio, he did miss the majority of last season because of an ankle sprain.
So how likely is this trade? The Timberwolves had the worst record in the league last season, and many NBA experts believe they are rebuilding. The combination of Kevin Love and Rubio didn't quite work out as planned. Trading Love away to the Cleveland Cavaliers last year could signal an end for Rubio in Minnesota soon. The Timberwolves haven't made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season when Kevin Garnett won MVP. Rubio has been at odds before with the Timberwolves over playing time.
For the Knicks, this would be a great trade acquisition despite the $50 million contract. The Knicks desperately need point guard help, and Calderon isn't the future. This could be great because Rubio is a great ball distributor, and Carmelo Anthony could thrive with him by his side. The Knicks were previously interested in Rajon Rondo, another elite passer, but he chose to sign with the Sacramento Kings.
The biggest issue here for the Knicks may be Phil Jackson and his system. The triangle offense demands that you have at least an average shooter running the point, and Rubio is a below average spot up jump shooter. This could work however if Jackson is willing to change the Knicks system, and let Rubio run the offense with Anthony as the primary scorer in a more traditional old school offense.
If the Knicks want a much cheaper, but better shooting option, Mario Chalmers has been involved in a lot of trade rumors recently. Chalmers is only scheduled to make $4.3 million next season with the Miami Heat.
Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1
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