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Goodbye, Spanish Unicorn


Charlotte Hornets v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

This was never going to be easy.

For many Wolves fans, myself included, Ricky Rubio was the reason we even cared when the organization was devastatingly incompetent. Ricky’s infectious personality and charm and next level passing shaped our fandom.

There has always been plenty to love about Rubio but this is the end of the road. Many of us here will be deeply disappointed with the news that he has finally been traded because we believe his best days are still ahead. We have seen the way he controls the game. We know he brings the best out of his teammates. He is a leader that leaves everything on the floor (BUT SHOOTING BLAH BLAH BLAH). The rest of the nation loves to focus on his broken jumper but we love to focus on the strengths. There have always been plenty of positives.

But now we must wave goodbye to the Spanish Unicorn. Ricky is headed to Utah.

The time has officially come after 8 years of rumors surrounding his future in Minneapolis. On the eve of what is sure to be a crazy free agent period, the Wolves and Jazz agreed to a trade this afternoon that will send Oklahoma City’s 2018 first-round draft pick, which is top-14 protected, in return for the player who captured our attention from the moment he was drafted in 2009. Ricky has had a vice grip on our hearts ever since.

I don’t particularly care about the pick because it’s likely to be a roll of the dice on a young prospect anyways once it conveys. This is a salary dump. Yes, the first rounder is another asset and it is smart to get something instead of nothing but the grade on this trade will ultimately be determined by the next move.

This deal is likely a precursor to a major move, or multiple moves, when free agency opens up at 12:01 tonight. Trading Rubio opens up over $14 million more in cap space to make a run at All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry and that should be the hope right now in Wolves Nation. The other outcomes don’t inspire as much confidence. Jrue Holiday would be a nice addition, but rumors have it that he is prepared to re-up in New Orleans. George Hill is another player to keep an eye on now that the Jazz just traded for his replacement in Rubio, though there is some chatter out there that Hill is not a fan of Tom Thibodeau, for whatever reason. Jeff Teague is also gaining steam as a potential target but that would be a downgrade in many regards outside of scoring.

In the end, saying goodbye to Rubio was always going to suck. I realize there are many people out there who DO NOT share this opinion, but collectively at Canis Hoopus we do share this opinion. In the coming days, I expect plenty of us to weigh in on what trading Rubio means. I expect many comments expressing dissatisfaction. I expect to be sad because of what Ricky meant to me, and to plenty of us out there.

Ricky wasn’t able to survive another summer of rumors. He was finally voted off the island (Survivor Island), as Thibodeau and Layden have their eyes on something bigger and better at the point guard spot. Only Kyle Lowry can turn this bloggers frown upside down. And even then, knowing Rubio will never experience the playoffs with the Wolves will leave a bitter taste lingering in my mouth for the foreseeable future.

So long to the Spanish Unicorn. Canis Hoopus will miss you deeply. I know that much.

I hope Ricky is able to prove people wrong by becoming the next Jason Kidd like we always believed he could become. I wish him the best in the future.

It’s just...

It’s so hard to say goodbye. But goodbye. We won’t forget the good times.