A Ricky Rubio return would be enticing, but Cavs can’t bank on encore

Ricky Rubio, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images
Ricky Rubio, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images /
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Ricky Rubio, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers look to have an emerging star in Darius Garland, who looks to be their answer at starting lead guard for the foreseeable future.

Garland followed up his bounce-back campaign from 2020-21 with an All-Star season in his third year, and was one of the crucial reasons why Cleveland doubled its win total in 2021-22. Garland had 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per contest in Year 3, and even with a potential production dip overall next season, with others involved and the team hopefully being healthier, he looks to have full command from here.

The gist is, the Cavaliers have a heck of a young guard in Darius Garland, and it does seem highly likely for now that the Cavaliers could bring Collin Sexton back, and he could be around long term. It’s not a certainty, but it does appear that could very well be the case.

As the year progressed, Sexton’s absence for most of the season because of his meniscus tear put even more of the onus on Garland. Injuries to Lauri Markkanen (ankle sprain) before the All-Star break, and Caris LeVert later on (foot sprain) and Jarrett Allen (finger fracture) didn’t help the team and Garland, either, for what it’s worth, and hopefully, Sexton recovers fully in due time without setbacks.

When it comes to the backup 1 spot, though, it is apparent that the Cavaliers need to find Garland help there.

Sexton, if he’s back, can help be a primary playmaker, to some extent, for stretches, but it’s logical that the Cavaliers are rumored to have interest in guys such as Ricky Rubio, Tyus Jones and Delon Wright.

Potential draft prospects such as TyTy Washington Jr., involving Cleveland’s #14 pick in the upcoming draft, and Dalen Terry and Andrew Nembhard, seemingly at #39, are players Cleveland reportedly could consider, too. Another second-round target I’d be a fan of for playmaking depth would be Alondes Williams, as a combo guard-type guy as well, along with say, Marcus Sasser as a lead guard.

Circling back, I just wanted to touch more on Rubio here, however, when it comes to possible veteran guys that can provide primary faciliation help. There seems to be a significant contingent of the Cavaliers fan base that would be big fans of a potential Rubio return, and I fully understand the reasoning there.

Rubio, who was a trade acquisition from the Minnesota Timberwolves last offseason, was terrific for the Wine and Gold in the first two-plus months of this season when he was in there. He had what would’ve tied for a career-high with 13.1 points per contest, to go with 6.6 assists per game, and that was in mostly a supersub-type role.

Then, in what was another gut-wrencher for Cleveland, Rubio was lost because of a torn ACL, which occurred in a late December loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Cavaliers blew a big lead in that one, which even shorthanded stung a bit, but the loss of Rubio to what looked immediately like a significant injury really was crushing.

Rubio, well his expiring contract then, was later moved as part of the package Cleveland sent to the Indiana Pacers near the deadline for Caris LeVert, and Rubio is now set to be an unrestricted free agent. As we stated, there could possibly be a Rubio return, too.

The Cavs just have to be objective here, when it comes to that possibility.

A potential Rubio reunion would be enticing, but the Cavs can’t bank on an encore.

First, I’ll touch on how Rubio was outstanding when he was in there this season for Cleveland, and I acknowledge that, so we’ll touch on the positive.