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Minnesota Timberwolves trading Ricky Rubio to Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz will acquire Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio on Friday, according to league sources.

Sources said the Wolves will trade Rubio into Utah’s $16 million of expiring salary cap space for a ‎2018 first-round pick via the Oklahoma City Thunder. The pick is top-14 protected.

The Salt Lake Tribune was the first to report Friday that the deal was close.

ESPN has been reporting all week that the ‎Jazz have been trying to acquire Rubio before Friday’s midnight expiration of the cap space.

Rubio, 26, averaged 16.0 points and 10.5 assists per game after the All-Star break this past season.

He holds career averages of 10.3 points and 9.1 assists but has played just 70 or more games three times in his six NBA seasons due to injuries. His career shooting percentage is just .375.

Rubio has two years left on his contract. He’s owed $14.25 million in 2017-18 and $14.95 million in 2018-19.

The Wolves ended the 2016-17 season with three point guards on the roster. They have now traded two of them (Rubio and Kris Dunn), leaving Tyus Jones as the only player at the position currently on the roster.

But the 2017 free agent class at point guard is loaded, with Kyle Lowry, George Hill, Jeff Teague, Patty Mills and Derrick Rose among the big names expected to be available once free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. ET Saturday.

Hill had been with the Jazz, but Rubio’s arrival means he will land elsewhere in free agency after playing a key role in Utah ending a four-year playoff drought despite a variety of injuries that limited him to 49 games.

Hill, whose sprained big toe bothered him for most of the season and ultimately caused him to sit out Utah’s final two playoff games, averaged a career-high 16.9 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 47.7 percent from the floor and 40.3 percent from 3-point range.

Utah acquired Hill from his hometown Indiana Pacers by dealing the No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 draft in a three-team trade with the Atlanta Hawks, filling the Jazz’s glaring need for a starting point guard. The Jazz were 33-16 when Hill played during the regular season and 18-15 when he was sidelined.

The Jazz had interest in signing the 31-year-old Hill to an extension during the season, but he opted to wait to test the open market, confident that he would command a significantly larger deal than what Utah offered.

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