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Report: Ricky Rubio returning to Cavaliers (three years, $18M)

Ricky Rubio with Cleveland Cavaliers

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 18: Ricky Rubio #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles the basketball up court during the second half of the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on December 18, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

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Ricky Rubio was reportedly unhappy about being traded to the Cavaliers last year.

But things surprisingly went so well in Cleveland, Rubio – even after the Cavs traded him as an expiring contract in February – is returning.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

That deal would fit into the taxpayer mid-level exception. However, it wouldn’t leave enough of the MLE to use on even a full-season minimum-salary signing.

The Cavaliers traded Rubio only because he tore his ACL in December. That injury looms as Rubio, 31, begins this next contract.

But before getting hurt, Rubio was instrumental in Cleveland’s surprisingly strong start. His chemistry with fellow point guard Darius Garland unlocked some of the Cavs’ most effective lineups and showed how much Rubio embraced playing on this young team.

It’s not a coincidence the Cavaliers faded to the finish after Rubio got hurt.

Rubio’s return raises some questions about Cleveland’s other ball-handling guards besides Garland, who’s a centerpiece. With Rubio injured, the Cavs traded for Caris LeVert. They also have matching rights on Collin Sexton in restricted free agency.

The Cavaliers could keep them all, especially with Rubio injured. It’d be unideal to lose a talented young player like Sexton for no return.

But there’s clearly a unique mutual trust between Cleveland and Rubio.