Rick Bowmer, AP
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) shoots as Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum (11) defends during the first half in an NBA basketball game Friday, April 7, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
SALT LAKE CITY — Ricky Rubio is the new starting point guard for the Utah Jazz and here’s why: timing.
Long rumored to be part of trade talks during his six years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Rubio was sent to the Jazz on June 30 for a 2018 first-round pick as Utah made last-ditch efforts to convince All-Star forward Gordon Hayward to stay in the Beehive State. With Hayward having decided on July 4 to go to the Boston Celtics, Rubio is now a core piece of what is, in some sense, a new era of Jazz basketball.
Thanks to a number of commitments in July, across various parts of the world, Rubio didn’t formally meet with local media until a conference call from his native Spain on Wednesday afternoon, where he discussed both the past and the future.
“To get traded, it’s not fun, but I was really excited to go to an organization that really believed in me,” he said. “It’s a great basketball organization with a good tradition. It was a little weird. I was six years in Minnesota. My name was in the papers with rumors and all that stuff for the last couple years, but never traded. This summer, I guess it was time. I have no regrets. I had a great time in Minnesota, but I think it was time for the both of us to move on. I think it was that time of our relationship that it didn’t work out the way we wanted, and we move on.”
Rubio enters an organization that has already put rather high expectations on him, as Utah general manager Dennis Lindsey said in early July that the Jazz’s new floor general compares favorably to Jason Kidd.
For his part, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Rubio shied away from that comparison Wednesday but appreciates Lindsey’s belief in him.
“Having the GM talk that good about me, it’s great,” he said. “The confidence that they showed in me from…