Kelly Oubre and Ricky Rubio have both been traded away from the Phoenix Suns
On February 24th, Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre Jr. played their last game together on the Phoenix Suns as they pounded the Utah Jazz 131-111. In that game, Oubre scored 18 points, but it was Rubio who would steal the show with his 22 points,11 assists, 6 rebounds, and 7 steal performance.
Rubio was traded on draft night to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oubre was traded to the OKC Thunder (and then subsequently the Golden State Warriors).
There is no doubt that Chris Paul is an upgrade at point guard, but Rubio’s play from that point on meant that Paul needs to pick up his game to fill Rubio’s Bubble shoes.
Over the final 12 games of the season, Rubio found his game with the Suns as they went 10-2 in those games as Rubio averaged 19 points, 10.5 assists, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, shot 47 percent from everywhere! Chris who?
Paul coming to Phoenix makes a lot of sense, but only if the Suns are willing to go all-in with the goal of an NBA Finals victory. That means ownership agreeing to go over the salary cap and into the luxury tax to build an even stronger team. Had the Paul trade not happened, Rubio’s progression as a Sun would have been just fine, and his high level of play demonstrated in the bubble suggests he would have been a high-quality point guard for the rest of his time in Phoenix.
In the end, Rubio was the consummate professional as a Suns player and yet he was kicked to the curb and blindsided by the deal. Ricky Rubio deserved so much better from the Suns. Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic translated Rubio’s response about being traded by the Suns;
"“It was a surprise, especially because of the communication that there has been,” Rubio said in marca.com. “When the rumors about my transfer, I called my people and they told me that my name was not on the table.”"
Turns out his name was.
Rubio understands the NBA is a business, but the trade is definitely bothering him.
"“By signing a contract, you accept the conditions, but there are ways and forms,” Rubio said “Players are privileged, but those who are in charge of these things have to understand that, in addition to players, we are also people “"
However, it’s probably fair to say “Don’t cry for me Argentina” probably comes into play here because regardless of where Rubio ended up, he was still going to be paid the final two years of his $51 million dollar contract that he signed with the Suns.
Still, nobody wants to be shipped off to the harsh winters of Minnesota after living in Phoenix.
Rubio quickly seems to be accepting the situation, though:
As for Tsunami Papi, he had everything going for him while here in Phoenix, but his dealing was only a matter of time.
Oubre was electric and brought energy to the Suns and the Valley on and off the court, he was like a magnet to Suns fans and the media alike, but in the end, Oubre outplayed his contract and the Suns wouldn’t have, nor should they have tried to keep him. It was a very good time for a parting of the ways despite Oubre’s popularity, it’s just too bad he ended up with the Warriors as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported today.
Fortunately for Rubio and Oubre their final road trip out of Phoenix in all likelihood had not started yet. In fact, the reality is that they both possibly might have been told by Oklahoma City: “don’t bother”, because over the next few days Rubio would end up being sent with his parka to Minnesota to be reunited with the team that drafted him in 2009, while Oubre would be leaving “The Valley” on his way to “The City” a few short days later where they will love the Papi push-ups.
In all, the team of Rubio and Oubre will have provided 5-first round draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Devin Booker an All-Star running mate… not bad for a week’s worth of work.