Ricky Rubio addresses rumor about having deal in place with Barcelona

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Rubio has been rumored to be planning to leave the NBA and return home to Spain someday, but according to the man himself, he does not already have a deal in place to play for Barcelona.

Rubio took to Twitter to refute a rumor that indicated the opposite.

“Sources close to Ricky Rubio tell me that Mundo Deportivo is lying,” Rubio wrote (translated via Twitter). “But still my source is not as reliable as yours.”

Rubio last month acknowledged that his NBA career is coming to an end, and when talking about a homecoming earlier this year, he specifically mentioned Barcelona. The timing reportedly is being set up to coincide with his son starting school.

Rubio did not play his first game last season until January after recovering from an ACL injury suffered more than a year before. He averaged 5.2 points and 3.5 assists per game in 33 regular season appearances and then played in three of Cleveland’s five playoff games, when the Cavs were eliminated by the New York Knicks in the first round.

Cleveland reportedly encouraged Rubio to play for Spain in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, and he is included on the country’s roster for the tournament that begins next month.

It is unknown if or how Rubio fits into the Cavs’ plans for this season. Cleveland has made some impressive moves during the offseason, adding Max Strus and Georges Niang and re-signing Caris LeVert as it attempts to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2017 and 2018.

Rubio was a popular European star when he was the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played for Barcelona from 2009 to 2011 before arriving in the NBA with the Timberwolves for the 2011-12 season.

He has averaged 10.8 points and 7.4 assists per game over 12 NBA seasons with the Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz. His 698 regular season games played rank fifth among NBA players from Spain.

Rubio’s contract is only partially guaranteed for the 2024-25 NBA season, so this upcoming campaign could be his last in the league. That would then make him available for Barcelona. A deal for a reunion could be struck in the future, but Rubio maintains nothing is set yet.

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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.