Needing to solidify their backcourt this offseason, the Indiana Pacers are reportedly keeping a close eye on Ricky Rubio and looking at potential draft-night deals.
Per The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Rubio is going to be a “top target” for the Pacers in free agency. The team has also talked with the New Orleans Pelicans about a potential trade involving the No. 4 pick in Thursday’s draft.
The Pacers have an urgent need at point guard with Darren Collison and Cory Joseph set to become unrestricted free agents on June 30.
Rubio would fit nicely in Indiana as a pass-first playmaker who can ease some of the burden off Victor Oladipo, who will be returning from a ruptured quad tendon suffered in a January win over the Toronto Raptors.
Even though Rubio has never been a great shooter, he’s developed a passable jumper that enabled him to shoot a career-high 35.2% from three-point range in 2017-18.
In a May interview with Spanish outlet AS (h/t EuroHoops.net), Rubio noted the trade rumors during the season did have an impact on his decision to possibly re-sign with the Utah Jazz.
“All that has affected me, without a doubt,” he said. “If the question had been asked a year ago, I’d signed with them with my eyes closed. Now, from here to July, many things can happen.”
New Orleans will receive the fourth overall pick from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the package for Anthony Davis when the trade becomes official, per ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
O’Connor noted the Pelicans are open to either “pick-based or player-based trade packages” for that draft pick.
The No. 4 selection would certainly be attractive to the Pacers if they want a point guard. Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and North Carolina’s Coby White could be available at that spot.
Indiana currently owns the No. 18 pick in this year’s draft. The team is coming off a 48-34 record in 2018-19 that ended with a four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.