The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz for a first-round pick, opening their wallets to free agent point guards. 

It wasn’t a Woj bomb, but a bomb nonetheless. On the eve of free agency, ESPN’s Marc Stein broke the news that Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio would be traded to Utah for a top-14 protected first-round pick. Initially, it looks like Minnesota lost.

Over the next two years, Rubio is owed $29.25 million with incentives included, and that limits what the Timberwolves can do in free agency. Becuase the Jazz are actually receiving a player, they’re the instant winners. Although Rubio is a solid guard, he’s limited offensively, and he only contributed to Minnesota’s spacing problems. Last year, Rubio shot better than 40 percent from the field for the first time and posted career-highs in points per game (11.1) and assists per game (9.1). He also averaged 1.7 steals, and his intensity on the defensive end is going to benefit the Jazz out of the gate.

Also Read: Minnesota Fleeced Chicago For Jimmy Butler

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Rubio is a nice pickup, but I can’t see the Jazz re-signing George Hill, who was their primary point guard last season when healthy. The Rubio Ripple Effect goes further. Gordon Hayward, who’s departure is entirely possible, was extremely close to Hill, and that doesn’t take into account how nicely he performed on both ends of the court. Although the numbers don’t show it, Hill is an outstanding defending point guard and is a far better offensive player than Rubio. If this move means the Jazz have moved on, it also means that there’s more of a chance Hayward lands in Miami or Boston.

Minnesota can now open up the checkbook. Jeff Teague and Kyle Lowry are two of the best point guards on the market, but we can’t rule out Tom Thibodeau going after Derrick Rose or Rajon Rondo. While the latter two wouldn’t be the best choices, both have connections to Minnesota’s current coach. Teague and Lowry, though, should be the first two on the list and it’s been reported that Jimmy Butler has already started recruiting Lowry to Minnesota.

Also Read: Antoine Walker Says Butler Is a ‘Bad Locker Room Guy’

Things can turn around rapidly for the Timberwolves. In Lowry, they get a sharpshooter who can orchestrate the offense, and he also had the bulldog mentality that Thibs loves. Teague may not be a sniper or a lockdown defender, but he’s more than capable of handling an offense.

This is one of those deals where we can’t quantify the impact until free agency truly starts to pick up — there are just too many variables. However, my gut is telling me that Minnesota wins in the end. Utah’s getting a good player, but their team can look much different at the start of the 2017-18 season, and I’m not too confident in their success if Rudy Gobert is their leading returning scorer at 14.0 points a night. Maybe they make some noise this summer, but it’s difficult to replace an All-Star.

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