MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — For their first time in their 33-year history, the Minnesota Timberwolves were non-participants in the NBA draft.
After forgoing both of their selections to Golden State, in completion of the trade that landed D’Angelo Russell and sent Andrew Wiggins to the Warriors in 2020, the Timberwolves did not reacquire any picks on Thursday night.
They weren’t completely inactive, though, reaching an agreement with Cleveland to send point guard Ricky Rubio for power forward Taurean Prince, cash and a 2022 second-round draft pick (via Washington), according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to the The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the NBA has yet to approve the trade.
Prince is on a expiring contract, set to make $13 million this season. He’s played five years in the league after being the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft.
Rubio is entering the final season of the $51 million, three-year contract he signed with Phoenix. He was acquired by the Timberwolves on draft day 2020 to give the team some more backcourt experience and depth, but his return to Minnesota to rejoin the team that drafted him as a teenager from Spain in 2009 at No. 5 overall was a bit of a bumpy ride.
His production on the court was as low as ever in his career, though he did serve as a valuable mentor to rookie Anthony Edwards, who frequently raved about Rubio’s savviness and leadership. Rubio found a better groove under new coach Chris Finch, who took over in February, while Russell was sidelined by injury.
General manager Gersson Rosas, who was not allowed to discuss the Rubio deal because it had not yet been finalized by the league, said he was confident Edwards would still have a strong support system in place.
“In our business, change is a reality, and our guys understand that,” Rosas said. “Any moves that we make are to get better.”
ESPN also reported that the Timberwolves reached a post-draft agreement on a two-way contract with former Colorado point guard and Minnesota native McKinley Wright IV.
The last time the Timberwolves didn’t have a first-round pick was 2012, in completion of a 2005 trade that sent Sam Cassell to the Los Angeles Clippers for Marko Jaric and Lionel Chambers.
With the No. 7 overall selection that originally belonged to the Timberwolves, the Warriors selected 18-year-old forward Jonathan Kuminga out of the G League.
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