The recent news of Ricky Rubio suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee is a significant blow to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The two-time All-Star has been instrumental in the T-Wolves’ success so far this season, leading the team in both points and assists, and has had an outstanding year after signing a four-year-long, $70 million contract in the offseason. While it’s unfortunate that Rubio will miss an indefinite period of time, it doesn’t mean that Thibs has to give up on the season. If the Wolves were to acquire Lauri Markkanen before the NBA trade deadline, it would be a way of extending their chances at winning the NBA Championship.

This week, the Bulls Insider took a look at the Wolves’ offseason and analyzed if the Bulls could trade for Ricky Rubio. This was based on the new 10-day contract the Wolves signed him to and the fact that he was traded from Utah to Minnesota in a three team trade, where the Bulls could have interest.

Ricky Rubio

Getty During a game against the Chicago Bulls on February 9, Ricky Rubio makes a layup over Coby White.

The NBA Finals in 2021 are winding up this week, which means free agency is approaching, and the Chicago Bulls are a club to keep an eye on.

Mostly because no one knows what they’re going to do except Arturas Karnisovas and the front office.

The Bulls missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season despite adding All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline.

They can put part of it up to poor luck, with Zach LaVine missing 11 games down the stretch after being placed under the league’s health and safety procedures for more than two weeks.

Still, there’s no denying the flaws in Chicago’s current roster and the necessity for significant change this summer if the Bears are to end their postseason drought.

Lauri Markkanen’s limited free agency is one item that gives the Bulls a chance to improve.


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Is Markannen planning a trip to Minnesota?

The Chicago Bulls’ decision to keep Lauri Markannen beyond the trade deadline indicated one of two things: either that they want to retain him this summer or that they are confident in their ability to recoup value in a sign-and-trade.

Given the team’s current condition and its win-now mentality heading into next season, the latter appears more probable.

In his recent mailbag piece on NBA.com, team insider Sam Smith suggested Ricky Rubio, a 10-year veteran, as a possible return for the 24-year-old:

I’d attempt to work out a sign-and-trade deal with Minnesota for Ricky Rubio, who has fallen out of favor there. I loved what I saw of him during the USA-Spain game. He’s not the perfect solution, but he’s a pass-first guy, which the Bulls need need, who can manage pressure and create plays while still being a decent defender.

As the starting point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, the 30-year-old player averaged 8.6 points, 6.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.

And, even better for the Bulls, his contract just has one year remaining on it:

That’s good because it enables the Bulls to be patient over the next year as players—particularly point guards—become more available on the trade market or because a club drafts someone they prefer.

Given the structure of both Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine’s contracts, Smith’s flexibility will be crucial for Chicago going forward.

The focus of the Chicago Bulls’ summer should be on win-now actions with little long-term consequences.

Arturas Karnisovas and the front office would be able to do exactly that with Ricky Rubio in a sign-and-trade deal for Lauri Markkanen.


Is it possible that Derrick Rose will make a comeback this summer?

Smith followed up his admiration and trade suggestion for Ricky Rubio by speculating on the likelihood of Derrick Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, coming to Chicago.

The 32-year-old guard is coming off a great finish with the New York Knicks in the 2020-2021 season.

Rose was the team’s top scorer (19.4 PPG) in their first-round playoff series defeat to the Atlanta Hawks just a few months ago.

As Smith points out, he’s looked at ease contributing off the bench, which is a position on the roster the Bulls would want to improve:

As a result, the Bulls acquire a point guard without having to sacrifice their roster or depth. Then, for Derrick Rose, utilize the taxpayer exemption of approximately $10 million. I, too, give in at some point. Rose has shown that he is not the 2011 Derrick Rose, but he is a consistent scorer and closer. He can play 65 to 70 games off the bench to stay fit and complete games if necessary.

To get both Rose and Rubio would give Chicago top grades in the NBA for summer action.

However, it is virtually completely reliant on Lauri Markkanen’s limited free agency status.

Fans of the Chicago Bulls, fasten your seatbelts.

In the Windy City, things are sure to change come summer.

READ NEXT: The Bulls’ Max-Cap Space For This Offseason Has Been Revealed


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