The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without a fan favorite when their annual media day takes place.
Veteran guard Ricky Rubio, whose career is on hold as he prioritizes his mental health, won’t be in attendance on Monday.
“Backup point guard Ricky Rubio, who has paused his career to focus on mental health, won’t be attending media day and has received an excused absence, sources tell cleveland.com,” wrote Cavs insider Chris Fedor. “Even though Rubio remains on the roster, there is no clarity on when — or if — the 12-year veteran will return to the team for the 2023-24 season. Cleveland’s first practice is Tuesday — about three weeks before its opener.”
The basketball world has been supportive of Rubio since his decision to step away, and the hope is certainly that he feels comfortable taking all the time he needs to get to a better place.
The 32-year-old appeared in 33 games for the Cavs during the 2022-23 regular season, averaging 5.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest.
In the 2021-22 regular season, he was particularly productive, averaging 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game across 34 appearances before a torn ACL threw a wrench into things.
His veteran presence will certainly be missed during his time away from the team. Rubio, who was drafted in 2009 and made his NBA debut in 2011, is one of the most experienced players on Cleveland’s roster and has seen a lot in the league.
That’s particularly notable because the Cavs’ inexperience showed in a big way during the 2023 NBA Playoffs. They were expected by many to handle the New York Knicks in the first round, but instead, they were eliminated in five games.
Rubio is under contract with the Cavs for two more seasons, so if he wants to suit up for Cleveland again, there isn’t necessarily a huge rush. It’s a safe bet that fans would give the veteran a wonderful ovation if he were to return.
In the meantime, Cleveland will look to get its 2023-24 season started on the right foot. The Cavs will open their campaign on Oct. 25 against the Brooklyn Nets as they try to finally erase the taste of last season’s playoff series against the Knicks.
Rubio will likely find ways to support his teammates whether he’s in the locker room or not, and the hope is that he’ll be healthy and back with the squad in the near future.