There was a great deal of activity prior to last month’s NBA trade deadline, but much of it never came to fruition. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, one such scenario involved the Minnesota Timberwolves sending Ricky Rubio to Milwaukee in exchange for Khris Middleton:
After some initial talks, the Wolves told the Bucks they would swap Ricky Rubio for Middelton, and when the Bucks declined, the Wolves even discussed the possibility of tossing in a protected 2016 first-round pick, per league sources familiar with the matter. Other outlets have reported of the Bucks’ interest in Rubio — Bucks head coach Jason Kidd seems to have a thing for rangy point guards with busted jumpers — but they never seriously entertained trading Middleton, sources say.
It makes sense that the Timberwolves would want Middleton, a burgeoning star who just signed an affordable contract, but that would also ostensibly entail sliding Zach LaVine over to point guard semi-permanently. Lowe went on to say that, after the Bucks balked at that offer, Minnesota suggested a straight-up swap of Rubio for Michael Carter-Williams, which Milwaukee also declined, seeing no use in trading a point guard with shooting woes for a point guard with equally well-documented struggles with his jump shot.
The real revelation here is how much the Bucks value Middleton, as they should. He’s a long, active perimeter defender, and he’s one of Milwaukee’s only players who can consistently stretch the floor with his shooting. When the cap jumps in the summer of 2017, the deal he signed last summer will look even better than it does now (and it looks pretty good). The Bucks know what they have; that’s why it’ll take more than just a highly valued first-round pick with a middling point guard.