The Cleveland Cavaliers received devastating news Wednesday afternoon: Ricky Rubio sustained a season-ending torn ACL. Rubio’s injury comes at an inconvenient time for the Cavs and presents yet another tough challenge.
The Wine and Gold were getting some of Rubio’s best play in his long-tenured career. He immediately addressed the Cavaliers’ need for a quality backup point guard and has even played better than most expected. While Darius Garland entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols was not good news, Cleveland was expected to manage his absence thanks to Rubio. This was immediately on show in Rubio’s 27 point, 13 rebound and nine assist-performance in the Cavs’ loss to the Pelicans.
Unfortunately, the veteran point guard went down with an injury late in the game — which looked like a serious injury quite quickly. Not only will the Cavaliers now stumble with poor point guard play due to Garland and Rubio’s absence, but now this will be a long-term issue as well. Cleveland will be back to square one, who will be the new backup lead guard when Garland returns? This will be a pressing problem that will need to be addressed if the Cavs intend to make a playoff appearance.
How can the Cavaliers Rebound from Rubio’s Injury?
As mentioned, Rubio’s injury puts the Wine and Gold in a real bind. Kevin Pangos or Denzel Valentine will not be a quality backup guard for the rest of the year; the Cavs’ solution is probably not on the current roster. More than likely, their answer will come via trade before the NBA’s trade deadline.
But who could Cleveland reel in through trade? Proposed trades surrounding the Cavaliers have already emerged. Several potential trade targets are already floating around: Dennis Schroder and John Wall. Schroder would be a nice option with his manageable salary (nearly $6 million) on a one-year contract. Wall, on the other hand, seems far less likely. The current Rockets guard has a massive salary of over $40 million per year with one year remaining. Wall’s veteran presence would be an interesting pairing with Garland, and Wall has the player option to become an unrestricted free agent in the upcoming offseason.
Depending on the asking price of Schroder and Wall, the Cavs could make something happen here. Both potential targets present their own strengths that could replace Rubio’s production for the remainder of the season. Of course, these are just the big names floating around. The potential addition of Caris LeVert or Ben Simmons could become more likely too.
Rubio’s injury presents a problem for the Cavaliers. With that said, Cleveland could become aggressive buyers ahead of the trade deadline. One thing is for sure: the injury of Rubio is a massive loss for Cleveland.
Featured image courtesy of John Fisher/Getty Images
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