If Gar Forman and John Paxson are looking for a trade for Rajon Rondo, they might consider Ricky Rubio. Rubio may not figure much in Tom Thibodeau’s new system but the Spanish point guard is a match made in heaven for both Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott.
Matching player salaries as the easiest way of finding an equal or better deal for trading players. Rondo might bring the Bulls the one point guard who easily fits like a glove for Fred Hoiberg’s pace-and-space offense: Timberwolves’ point guard Ricky Rubio. Rondo’s salary for Chicago runs at $14 million while Rubio’s contract runs at $13 million. The difference can be made up by fodder players or even packaging Taj Gibson for Gorgui Dieng and Tyus Jones to make up the salary match.
Rubio has been languishing under Thibodeau’s slower system that relies on posting up Shabazz Muhammad and Dieng ( both of whom are face-the-basket players) and he is considered expendable by Thibs because of Kris Dunn and Jones performing slightly better on offense than Rubio. Thibs is slowing down the team and clogging the lane with his bigs. Hoiberg can use Rubio to be more surgical since the Bulls don’t really clog the lane like Thibs.
With Chicago, Rubio might actually flourish being an ex-teammate of Mirotic on the Spanish National basketball team. That alone should upgrade the game of the Bulls’ enigmatic scorer. Even Doug McDermott’s game will spike with Rubio on the team looking for him all the time. No more shooters sitting in the corner if Rubio plays for the Bulls.
Rubio has also outplayed Rondo in their first matchup this year, helping the young Wolves run the Bulls into the ground by finding seams in the defense and passing to the best scoring options.
Rondo may have worn out his welcome the instant he threw a towel at a Bulls assistant coach and Paxson was just looking for any indication that they don’t need to put up with a headcase like that. When the Bulls lost consecutive games with Rondo at the helm, being unable to defend stud scoring guards, that may have forced Chicago to decide to end the Rondo experiment and lean more on Michael Carter-Williams as starting point guard.The Bulls don’t need Rubio to score big. They need him to feed Mirotic and McDermott and bring the ball up speedily. If Rubio can help Nikola get four or more good looks from outside the arc, and Doug the same or more, he’s done his job. The Bulls can get their guard points from Dwyane Wade or Denzel Valentine. But they need someone to bring the ball quickly into the frontcourt and look for shooters or cutters.
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We hope Hoiberg gives a good word to the front office about Ricky. He just might be everything they need to get their shooters primed.