MEMPHIS – Like most everyone else his generation, Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio is a social media consumer and admitted fan of all the speculation — true or not — that the NBA’s annual trade deadline generates each February.
This time, though, he adds his own asterisk.
“Yeah, it’s fun to see all the trades,” he said, “unless it’s you.”
His name was prominent in pre-deadline rumors — and probably a good bit less so in actual trade negotiations. Wolves General Manager Milt Newton on Thursday said he fielded calls from teams about Rubio, but vowed he never made a call shopping Rubio.
Milwaukee and New York are among the teams believed to have inquired. Newton only said “the phone rang quite a bit” and “We’re not in the business of giving players away.”
“I mean, it’s all rumors and if it happens, it happens,“ Rubio said. “When your name is out there, it’s not fun. But it’s part of the business.”
Newton said his job requires him to field any and all calls.
“If something makes our team better, it’s something we’d consider and they know that,” Newton said Thursday as the team headed to Memphis for Friday’s game. “But the fact is, you see a lot of rumors out there with teams that are not necessarily true … I can’t go to a player every day and say ‘Look, it’s not true.’ They understand this is a business. We’ll have some conversations when they get back.”
Asked Friday morning if Newton had talked to him about such issues, Rubio said, “Nope.”
When told Newton said he intended to do so, Rubio said, “I hope.”
Back in action
Still with the Wolves after Thursday’s deadline, guard Kevin Martin and his sore wrist were deemed available to play Friday and he did, for the first time since Jan. 23. Rookie Tyus Jones also saw his first minutes in a meaningful situation since Jan. 4 when he entered the game shortly after Martin did late in the first quarter.
Forward Nemanja Bjelica (sore foot) and center Nikola Pekovic (sore foot) did not travel to Memphis. Forward Kevin Garnett (sore knee) did not play for a 10th consecutive game.
Celebrating a life
Assistant coach Bryan Gates returned to the team Friday after he attended Thursday’s services for Oklahoma City assistant Monty Williams’ wife, Ingrid.
Ingrid Williams was killed Feb. 10 when an oncoming vehicle crossed the center line and hit hers head-on. A mother of five children, she was 44.
Monty Williams delivered a stirring eulogy about his wife and forgiveness.
“That’s Mont for you,” said Gates, an assistant on Williams’ staff in New Orleans for five years. “That’s who he is. He made sure everybody knew they should be OK. When they said it was a celebration of life, he made sure it wasn’t a funeral. It was a celebration of life.”