Richard Jefferson explains why Ricky Rubio ‘probably felt bad’ about recent LeBron James interview

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Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Rubio’s retirement put LeBron James in a tough position when he had to address the career of the former Cleveland Cavaliers guard following a tough loss by his current club.

Former Cavaliers player Richard Jefferson said Rubio probably felt bad about James being put in that position.

“Honestly, Ricky probably felt bad for Bron in that moment,” Jefferson said. “‘Cause Ricky’s one of the nicest guys in the freakin’ world. Super nice, just a good dude. … Ricky knows the situation so Ricky’s like, ‘Man, that’s tough. Man, I feel bad for Bron that he got put in that.’ I guarantee you. I guarantee you.”

Earlier this month, Rubio’s time in the NBA came to an end when he and the Cavs agreed to a contact buyout. The next day, James and the Lakers were defeated by the Memphis Grizzlies, and the superstar was asked about Rubio during his postgame comments to the media.

“I’m not really in the mood to answer that question, but I respect Ricky,” James said then. “Congratulations on a hell of a career, and if I don’t seem sincere when you see this video, it’s because we got our a– whooped again, and I apologize. So, it was actually bad timing on the interviewer asking me this question. It’s not me, Ricky, so congratulations.”

Rubio did not appear in a game with the Cavaliers this season as he was focusing on his mental health. It is possible he could continue his professional career in his native Spain.

The 33-year-old also played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns during his 12 seasons in the NBA. Last season with the Cavs, he averaged 5.2 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game in 33 appearances.

The Cavaliers have fashioned a fairly successful season without Rubio this campaign. Despite injuries to Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, the Cavs entered play Saturday with a 24-15 record that has them in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Garland is not with the Cavs on their current road trip, but Mobley was seen during shootaround as he is working his back in his recovery from knee surgery.

Cleveland also reportedly has no intention of dealing Donovan Mitchell with the trade deadline approaching early next month. The Cavs reportedly are trying to add a 3-and-D player to help them throughout the rest of the season.

The Lakers are not faring as well with a 21-22 record that has them in 10th place in the Western Conference. The loss to the Grizzlies on Jan. 5 was the last of a four-game losing streak that was part of nine losses in 11 games for Los Angeles.

That could be a main reason why James was not as enthusiastic as he may have wanted to be while addressing Rubio’s career.

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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.