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Conclusion of NBA journey for Ricky Rubio; Cavs and player reach agreement on contract termination

Following his hiatus from the team to address his mental well-being, guard Ricky Rubio declared on Thursday that he is bidding farewell to his 12-year NBA tenure.

Rubio, 33, revealed his decision in a message on social media, expressing that July 30 — just before he initially paused his playing career — “was one of the hardest nights of my life,” but also noting that he is progressing.

“One day, when the right moment arrives, I would love to share my complete journey with all of you in order to provide support to others undergoing similar circumstances. Until then, I would prefer to keep it private, out of deference to my family and myself, as I continue working on my mental well-being,” Rubio wrote. “But I am pleased to say that I’m making great strides and improving with each passing day.”

Rubio and the Cleveland Cavaliers have come to terms on a contract termination, the organization disclosed on Thursday. This decision, which encompasses the $6.1 million remaining on this year’s contract and $6.4 million for 2024-25, grants the Cavaliers some financial relief and opens up an additional spot on the team’s roster.

Rubio expressed gratitude to all the teams he represented in the NBA — the Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Cavaliers — but reserved particular commendation for Cleveland.

“My ultimate professional home,” Rubio stated. “I understand that the way things unfolded has been challenging. I could never have envisioned that the year would unfold in this manner, but you have a remarkable organization, with [president of basketball operations] Koby [Altman] and [coach] JB [Bickerstaff], who have been exceedingly considerate and understanding of my situation and have shown genuine care for me as an individual.”

If Rubio proceeds with his career, it is likely to be where he commenced as a 14-year-old prodigy — in his native Spain.

Over the summer, Rubio had his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management, inform Altman about his necessity to step away to address those mental health issues. The Cavaliers had accommodated Rubio, but discussions shifted in recent weeks to a termination as it became more apparent that Rubio did not foresee playing for the Cavaliers — or even in the NBA — again, as per sources.

Rubio missed the majority of the past two seasons recuperating from a torn ACL — the second of his career. He participated in 33 games last season, joining the team halfway through the season and averaging 5.2 points and 3.5 assists per game.

He engaged in professional basketball as a teenager in Spain, where he became the youngest player in the annals of the prestigious Spanish ACB League at 14 years old. Rubio was the fifth selection in the 2009 NBA draft, chosen by the Timberwolves, and he represented Minnesota during the initial six years of his career.

The Timberwolves extended their congratulations to Rubio following his announcement, stating “Gratitude for everything” in a social media post.

Throughout his career, Rubio achieved an average of 10.8 points and 7.4 assists per game, and established a reputation as a beloved teammate of numerous renowned players, including Kevin Love and Donovan Mitchell.

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