Cavaliers reportedly keen on reuniting with guard Ricky Rubio
Coming off their first winning season in four years, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly
interested in working with Ricky Rubio. Again.
According to a report from Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, the Cavaliers “are very much interested in bringing back Ricky Rubio.” The contract of the 31-year-old is up and he’s eligible to enter free agency.
In his first season with the Cavaliers, the journeyman guard averaged 13.1 points, 6.6 assists
and 4.1 rebounds per game (34 contests). Unfortunately, Rubio’s season came to an end on
Dec. 28 when he suffered a torn ACL in a road game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Ahead of the trade deadline, Rubio was sent to the Indiana Pacers in a package deal that brought Caris LeVert. The latter provided valuable offense for the Cavs and helped them to a 44-38 season.
The Spaniard’s return to the Cavs could lift their odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship: Cleveland is +12000 at FanDuel and +9000 at DraftKings.
Rubio would rejoin the Cavs for a season during which the Buckeye State will introduce mobile and online betting, which is widely expected to go live by Jan. 1, 2023. Players in Ohio’s betting industry are already positioning themselves with promotions from big-name books including FanDuel and BetMGM Sports.
2021-22 marked the Cavs’ first winning season without LeBron James in the fold since 1998. However, they dropped play-in games against the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks to miss out on the postseason altogether.
For his career, Rubio has averaged 11.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game. The
Cavaliers will need some playmaking help in the back court to accommodate LeVert, Kevin
Love and Evan Mobley.
Seeing how strong of a fit Rubio was in Cleveland, it’s no surprise that the front office is
seemingly keen on re-signing him.
Bill Self doesn’t think Ochai Agbaji has hit his ceiling
With the No. 14 pick in the 2022 NBA draft, the Cavaliers selected Kansas Jayhawks product Ochai Agbaji.
The 22-year-old was instrumental in helping the Jayhawks win this year’s national
championship. Agbaji had a season for the ages, garnering the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award as well as Big 12 Player of the Year, Consensus first-team All-American and First-team All-Big 12 honors.
Some fans and pundits view the Agbaji selection as risky, believing that the 6-foot-5, 215-pound standout has already peaked. But Jayhawks head coach Bill Self certainly doesn’t see it that way.
“I think that Ochai, his intangibles have improved so much from a competitiveness…even
though he always was, he’s learned that there’s a different gear you have to get to to compete at the highest level,” Self stated in a zoom call, per Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. “When you work as hard as he does in that fifth gear, every single possession, every
single drill, every single shot, you’re going to get better. He’s a good shooter, a great shooter, he’s going to become exceptional.”
Agbaji’s production improved considerably each year. From 2018-19 to 2021-22 (in order), he averaged 8.5, 10, 14.1 and 18.8 points per game. He was also one of the top shooters in the NCAA, recording a superb 40.7 three point shooting percentage last season.
Kendrick Perkins rips former Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving
Former NBA center Kendrick Perkins, who played two stints with the Cavaliers, doesn’t believe Brooklyn Nets All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has been the same since leaving “The Land” five years ago.
In the summer of 2017, Irving stunned the basketball world by requesting a trade from the
Cavaliers. He was ultimately traded to the rival Boston Celtics in a package deal that brought
fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder to Cleveland.
Speaking on a recent edition of ESPN’s Get Up program (h/t ClutchPoints), Perkins claimed that Irving simply hasn’t been at his best since leaving Cleveland.
“Since he left LeBron James, he has not been the Kyrie Irving that we’ve seen in a Cleveland
Cavaliers jersey,” Perkins explained. “He played his most consistent, elite basketball alongside LeBron James.”
In three seasons together with the Cavaliers, James and Irving took the team to a trio of NBA Finals appearances. The Cavs stunned the 73-win Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Finals to bring the franchise its first championship.
A year later, the Cavaliers were heavily outmatched by the Kevin Durant-led Warriors, who
soundly defeated Cleveland in five games to claim their second title in three years.
Irving’s wish to be the main star in Boston simply didn’t go as planned. He didn’t see eye-to-eye with his teammates and left after just two seasons, joining the Atlantic Division rival Brooklyn Nets in 2019 free agency.
The 30-year-old Irving has been an intense subject of trade rumors. According to ESPN’s
Adrian Wojnarowski, only James’ Los Angeles Lakers are believed to be the only team
interested in a potential sign-and-trade deal for Irving.