SALT LAKE CITY — With the NBA trade deadline less than two weeks away, members of the Utah Jazz certainly aren’t oblivious to the outside chatter surrounding them.
Memphis’ Mike Conley Jr. and Washington’s Otto Porter Jr. are among the names reportedly being thrown around in Jazz land as possible targets.
But as the Twitter general managers debate and numerous reports surface, Ricky Rubio sees his name being thrust into potential deals without much emotion.
“I was in Minnesota traded like 20 times,” Rubio said. “Until it doesn’t happen, you have to really don’t pay attention to that. A lot of them are just rumors and just 5 percent are true, so if it happens it happens, but I’m committed 100 percent to this team, to the community, and nothing’s going to change.”
Ricky Rubio on Jazz’s trade rumors: “Sometimes we forget, but this is a business and we saw it with AB (Alec Burks), a guy who was here 8 years and right before a game he was gone and that’s it. That hits you.” pic.twitter.com/Y8GoN1d8eJ— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) January 25, 2019
Rubio recently returned from a six-game absence with a mild right hamstring strain to join the squad for the last pair of games, while still on a minutes restriction, entering Friday’s Jazz versus Minnesota Timberwolves contest.
Rubio is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, while on the last year of his four-year, $55 million deal originally signed in Minnesota before being traded to Utah, so it makes sense that the Jazz are exploring all options.
Even with the Jazz winning seven of their last eight games, players understand the NBA is a business always in search of better opportunities — hence, former Jazzman Alec Burks learning he was traded for Kyle Korver ahead of the Jazz’s road contest versus Brooklyn in November.
“Sometimes we forget, but this is a business and we saw it with AB (Alec Burks), a guy who was here eight years, and right before a game he was gone, and that’s it,” Rubio recalled. “That hits you.
“As a team, it’s hard when a trade happens, especially when you have a team that connected, but I know and understand it’s a business and Kyle (Korver) is helping the team a lot,” he continued. “It was a great move so there’s balance to putting too much commitment to being a friend to somebody. That happens at every work; if they got a better job offer or the boss just decides to cut personnel, that happens. It happens in every business. I understand that this is a game and that’s why we love the game, but at the end of the day it’s a business.”
With that being said, Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Rubio both agree that the team has all the pieces in place to push for a playoff spot as is. Last year, with much of the same roster intact, the squad reached the second round of the playoffs, in Rubio’s first-ever postseason appearance, and look to do the same this year.
The NBA trade deadline is set for Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. MT.
“It's the NBA. Whether it's the deadline or in the summertime, it's always going to be talk between the GMs ... it's a business,” Gobert said. “I think we're all aware of that, but at the same time, we're all enjoying the moment and playing to win."