Cavs guard Ricky Rubio considering return to Europe in future

3 Min Read
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Rubio is contemplating a return to Europe, with the Cleveland Cavaliers guard saying he could go back to his native Spain when his contract is up.

“I am starting to consider my return,” he said during a podcast appearance. “Going home. To Barcelona. Close to home.”

The veteran said last year that he would like to be back in Europe when his son starts school down the road.

Rubio tore his ACL last season and did not debut this season until January. He averaged 5.2 points and 3.5 assists per game in the regular season while helping the Cavaliers reach the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2018.

He wasn’t used much in the postseason, getting into just three games off the bench in a disappointing series loss to the New York Knicks.

One NBA executive said Cleveland was undone by a lack of shooting and needs to improve in that area. Rubio is more of a pass-first guard who shot 34.3 percent from the field this season and 25.6 percent from deep.

Donovan Mitchell is the clear star for the Cavaliers, and the team will look to find ways to build around him and Darius Garland. Some fans think the Cavaliers should explore trade options for Rubio this offseason. Cleveland has other offseason decisions to make, including possibly bringing back Lamar Stevens and Cedi Osman.

The Cavaliers have reportedly said they would like Rubio to play for Spain in the upcoming 2023 FIBA World Cup, presumably in hopes that it would continue his recovery from the ACL injury. If they were to see improved play from him there, perhaps he’d become a bigger and more reliable part of their plans heading into next season.

Rubio debuted with the Cavaliers last season but was traded to the Indiana Pacers in February while injured. He signed back with Cleveland over the summer on a three-year contract. That deal is only partially guaranteed for the 2024-25 season, which could put Rubio back in Europe even earlier than he may be thinking.

“I have two years left on my contract. Maybe one,” Rubio said during the podcast appearance. “We will see.”

Rubio, the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, was one of the most popular European players when he arrived in the NBA for the 2011-12 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has played 698 NBA regular season games for four teams (the Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Cavaliers).

Share This Article
Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.