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May 27, 2024

Spanish Guard Ricky Rubio Announces Retirement from NBA to Focus on Mental Health

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Jan 5, 2024

Veteran point guard Ricky Rubio has decided to step away from the NBA in order to focus on his mental health, announcing his retirement on January 4th after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lead Up to Retirement Announcement

The 32-year-old Rubio signed a three-year, $18 million contract with Cleveland in the offseason after spending the past two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns. He had returned to Minnesota in 2020 after starting his career there from 2009-2017.

Expectations were high for Rubio to provide veteran leadership and playmaking for the young Cavaliers squad. However, he suffered a torn ACL last December that sidelined him for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season.

After months of rehabilitation, Rubio returned to the court this NBA season and was working his way back to form, averaging 13.1 points and 6.6 assists through 34 games as a critical part of Cleveland’s rotation.

Behind the scenes though, Rubio was struggling mentally and emotionally. In a statement posted to social media, he reflected on the difficult last year:

“The last few weeks have been very difficult for me in terms of mental health. That’s the main reason why I’m here today.”

Agreement Reached on Contract Buyout

With 3 years remaining on his contract, Rubio and the Cavaliers organization recently reached a buyout agreement that allows the Spanish guard to step away while receiving a portion of his remaining salary.

The buyout was first reported on January 4th and officially announced soon after by both Rubio and the team.

|Key Details|
|-|
|Remaining Contract Length|3 years, $18 million|
|Buyout Amount|Undisclosed|
|Free to Sign with New Team?|No, intends to retire|

This allows Rubio the freedom and financial security to take an indefinite leave from basketball in order to prioritize his mental health without being tied to contractual obligations with the Cavaliers organization.

Reflection on 12-Year NBA Career

In his retirement message posted to social media, Rubio reflected on his 12-year NBA career with gratitude for the opportunities he has been afforded.

The Spaniard expressed appreciation for the team executives, coaches, support staff, and teammates who have impacted him throughout his time in the league with the Timberwolves, Jazz, Suns, Cavaliers, and Spanish National Team.

“It has been the journey of a lifetime,” he wrote. “I gave my 100% every day to make my dream a reality and leave my mark on the NBA.”

Indeed, Rubio leaves behind quite a legacy, including:

  • Timberwolves franchise leader in assists
  • Started youngest Euroleague game at age 14
  • Euroleague champion and Spanish league MVP before entering NBA
  • Olympic medalist with Spain

Plans Moving Forward Remain Unclear

At just 32 years old, Rubio could clearly continue playing basketball at a high level for several more years if he chose to do so.

However, the veteran guard was unequivocal in stating that he is stepping away from the game:

“But there is more to life than basketball. It’s time to take care of myself and my family.”

For now, it’s unclear what exactly retirement will look like for Rubio or if he has plans to remain involved in basketball in some capacity.

It’s possible he could look to return to the NBA after a season or two away like veterans Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving recently did after extended personal leaves from their teams.

However, Rubio’s comments indicate he may be ready to transition into the next phase of his life completely removed from professional basketball.

Impact on Cavaliers Moving Forward

The loss of Rubio leaves a hole for the Cavaliers at point guard both on and off the court.

In terms of on-court production, Cleveland will turn to young guards Caris LeVert and Raul Neto to pick up the slack. They also recently signed veteran guard Craig Porter Jr. to a 10-day contract after Rubio’s buyout was announced.

Additionally, Rubio’s mentorship and leadership for the Cavs’ young core was invaluable. The front office will need to hope that those lessons carried forward or look to add a seasoned veteran at some point to fill that clubhouse void.

Cavaliers Point Guard Depth Chart
Starter: Darius Garland
Backup: Caris LeVert
Reserve: Raul Neto

|Reserve: Craig Porter Jr. (10-day contract)

At 27-15, Cleveland currently sits 4th in the Eastern Conference standings. While certainly still a playoff team, Rubio’s absence could impact just how far this young group is able to advance without his steadying presence and playoff experience.

Conclusion & Future Outlook

Ricky Rubio’s sudden retirement comes as a disappointment for basketball fans who hoped to see his NBA career continue to thrive after returning successfully from a major knee injury.

However, Rubio clearly believes stepping away is the right personal decision at this point in time. No definitive plans for what comes next professionally have been announced.

For now, we wish Ricky all the best in prioritizing his mental health and finding happiness in this next life chapter away from basketball. Considering everything he’s already accomplished on the court, his legacy is undoubtedly a positive one regardless of whether he ever returns to the NBA.

At just 32 years old though and after 12 fantastic seasons in the league, we certainly hope this is just a temporary farewell rather than a permanent goodbye for the Spanish sensation.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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