While the news has been taken differently by varying individuals, the Utah Jazz absolutely did the right thing by being upfront with Ricky Rubio.
If you weren’t already fully convinced that Ricky Rubio wouldn’t be back with the Utah Jazz next season after free agency, you’ll likely have a hard time feeling otherwise now. Earlier today, I gave my two cents on Rubio’s desires of filling a leading role on a playoff team, something he likely wasn’t going to be doing with the Jazz any longer after comments coming from both him and Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey. Now, based on yet another comment from the Spanish Samurai himself, his departure from Utah feels even more certain.
Per Sportando, it was recently reported that Rubio told Spanish journalist Ernest Macia, “Utah has already let me know I’m not a priority for them.” That declaration makes it quite clear that the Jazz are ready to move on and that Rubio is quite aware of that fact, bringing a lot more clarity to his recent statements that already painted a pretty clear picture that such would be the case.
But before we jump to any conclusions too hastily, let’s clear up a few items, shall we? First of all, we’re basing a lot of assumptions off of one sentence that Rubio reportedly said in an interview in an entirely different language (Spanish). It’s entirely possible that a lot is being taken out of context, that bits were lost in translation and that unfair assessments are being made.
Did the Jazz explicitly say, “Ricky, you’re not a priority” or was that simply his evaluation of the conversations? Were there other aspects of the discussions between Ricky and the Jazz, including perhaps Rubio being ready for a new opportunity anyway? What was the tone between the two? Some are assuming it was the Jazz punting Ricky out the back door, while others have projected that perhaps Ricky is the one now thumbing his nose at the Jazz.
Whatever the case, you can see how one mere sentence can be interpreted about a million different ways and it’s quite possible that not a single one of those million can be quite in line with the truth.
As such, as you might imagine, there were several different reactions from Jazz fans upon hearing Ricky’s comment, and said reactions differed about as greatly as they could. But based on the little knowledge we have about this exchange between Ricky Rubio and the Utah Jazz, there’s one thing I feel strongly about.
Regardless of what exactly was said between the Jazz front office and Rubio, the Jazz organization did the right thing by being upfront with Ricky.
Several NBA fans on Twitter have tried to use Rubio’s comments as a way to defame the Jazz, saying that them explicitly telling him he’s not a priority is disrespectful and unwarranted. Others have alluded to this being a contributing reason why free agents wouldn’t want to play in Utah, claiming that the organization doesn’t treat its players well.
To this I say, such opinions couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Utah Jazz deserve high praise for being forthright with Ricky Rubio, because in so doing, they’ve allotted him additional clarity as to what his future holds and the complete freedom to now start looking at opportunities on other teams rather than wondering what/if the Jazz might offer.
Sure, there’s probably a bit of sting learning that a team is ready to move on, but Rubio had to have seen the writing on the wall at the trade deadline when he was being dangled for Mike Conley, and even well before that due to the fact that he simply didn’t perform well in Utah and never quite fit as hoped. The Jazz were already likely to move on from him; would he and other detractors have preferred that they falsely led him to believe they were considering re-signing him, only to string him along and let him go anyway?
With that being said, Rubio has been expressing his seemingly negative feelings about the Jazz a lot more than I expected he would. Regardless of how the Jazz exactly let him know that he wasn’t a priority, it feels pretty unprofessional for him to be spouting these details off in a way that could be interpreted as him being bitter and whiny. In my opinion, this kind of information should remain between him, his agent and the Jazz organization.
Then again, the one quote circling Twitter tells us little to nothing about what really happened. It tells us even less about how the Jazz were feeling about Ricky when the message was shared or how Ricky felt then or now about the Jazz. For all we know, it was much more of a mutual parting of ways and it’s actually much more of a non-issue than it’s being made out to be by the Utah faithful.
But whatever the case, the Jazz are doing the right thing in making the message clear that they don’t intend to bring Ricky back. Being forthright is always a better look for an organization than leading players on or leaving them guessing. And Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum seemed to strongly back up that sentiment as he tweeted out the following upon learning the news of the Jazz’s message to Rubio:
A player like McCollum would know better than any fan the benefits of a team being upfront with its players, and looking at things from this point of view makes the Jazz look much more like a favorable organization to play for than one that treats its players poorly as some fans tried to construe out of this whole situation. Good on the Jazz for making the tough choice and having the difficult but truthful conversation with Rubio rather than stringing things out.
This is yet the first step in what should be a majorly interesting offseason for the Utah Jazz. It appears that one domino – Ricky Rubio not returning – is already set to fall, but it could very well be the first of many. The fact that Rubio isn’t a priority for the Jazz could mean they are confident in bringing in a replacement for him via trade or free agency and even if it doesn’t, it at least means they’re open and ready to make significant changes from the status quo.
And that’s exciting news for a Jazz fanbase that’s all too familiar with their team taking a familiar or conservative approach when it comes to roster construction. A lot could happen between now and the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, but if you ask me, Jazz fans are likely to see some major shakeup before summer’s end beginning with Rubio’s departure.