Cavs guard Ricky Rubio admits his NBA days are coming to an end

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Rubio has a first-rate reputation for being able to see the court, and the Cleveland Cavaliers guard also has a clear view of the future, saying this week that his time in the NBA is nearing an end.

“My idea when I left Europe to play in the NBA is to come back one day,” Rubio said, as translated by HoopsHype. “I don’t know where I’ll be mentally and physically, and if I’ll still want to keep playing, but yeah my NBA days are coming to an end.”

Mentally, Rubio previously has said he has a desire to be back in his native Spain when his son starts school there. Physically, the 32-year-old is still trying to regain his form after recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee he suffered in December 2021.

This season, because of that injury, he did not play his first game until January. He averaged 5.2 points and 3.5 assists per game in 33 regular season appearances after getting back on the court and then played in three of the five playoff games when the Cavs were eliminated by the New York Knicks in the first round.

The Cavaliers reportedly want Rubio to play for Spain in the 2023 FIBA World Cup this summer, hoping there is continued improvement from the injury. What they see could influence their future plans for him on the roster.

Rubio was the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and a hyped European star when he finally debuted in the league in 2011. He also played for the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns before getting to Cleveland.

Rubio’s contract is only partially guaranteed for the 2024-25 season, which could free him up to return to Europe soon.

He was averaging 13.1 points per game to go along with 6.6 assists per contest at the time of the 2021 knee injury. In the game he was injured, he recorded 27 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

A player still capable of that would be quite a boost for the Cavaliers, who are entering an important offseason coming off their first playoff appearance since 2018. Donovan Mitchell showed he is a player worthy of building a franchise around, and Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are a formidable supporting cast.

Cleveland reportedly is looking to add some 3-and-D wing help this offseason but is likely to find competition in that market from other teams.

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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.