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Ricky Rubio may be open to trade if Timberwolves miss postseason

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Ricky Rubio admitted that the Minnesota Timberwolves’ long run of futility during his time with the team may become too much to bear should the team fail to reach the playoffs next season.

“When I arrived to Minnesota, my hope was to break the seven years’ streak without [a] presence in [the] playoffs. I still have that hope, but it’s very tough mentally when year after year that goal is not met,” Rubio said during a recent interview on Spain’s Catalunya Radio, via ESPN.

With an abundance of young talent highlighted by the emergence of consecutive Rookie of the Year winners Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns — not to mention the hiring of Tom Thibodeau this offseason — the Timberwolves are without question an up-and-coming team. But the strain of losing clearly has taken its toll on Rubio, who signed a four-year, $56 million contract extension in 2014.

“Next season will be crucial for me,” Rubio continued. “I’ve been in the NBA for five years, and six years without playoffs would be a long time. At 26, I’d have to start thinking about teams that can get to the playoffs and win in the Finals.”

Even with an upgraded roster, the No. 5-overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and Thibodeau’s coaching acumen, the Wolves aren’t guaranteed anything as it relates to a presumed spot in the postseason given how the Western Conference is loaded with more playoff-caliber teams than the eight spots available.

Rubio’s defensive intensity and renowned ability to distribute the ball in often-dazzling fashion cannot be questioned, but his sub-par shooting — a career 36.8 percent from the field — continues to hold him back, especially given the demands placed upon point guards in today’s NBA to score as well.

How Rubio plays next season could go a long way in determining whether the Wolves reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004. With that in mind, the onus arguably is on him to make sure next season convinces him Minnesota is the place to continue his career.