National Basketball Association
Ricky Rubio announces retirement from NBA after reported Cavs buyout
National Basketball Association

Ricky Rubio announces retirement from NBA after reported Cavs buyout

Published Jan. 4, 2024 1:08 p.m. ET

Ricky Rubio could be making a return to basketball. But if he does, it won't be in the NBA.

The point guard, who last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, announced his retirement from the NBA on Thursday after missing the first few months of the season to address his mental health. 

Rubio, 33, shared an update on his mental health situation in his statement announcing his retirement from the NBA after 12 seasons. 

"July 30th was one of the toughest nights of my life," Rubio wrote. "My mind went to a dark place. I kind of knew I was going on that direction, but I've never thought I wasn't under control of the situation. The next day, I decided to stop my professional career.


"One day, when the time is right, I would love to share my full experience with you all, so I can help support others going through similar situations. Until then, I would like to keep it private out of respect for my family and myself, as I'm still working on my mental health. But I'm proud to say I'm doing much better and getting better every day."

Rubio's announcement came shortly after it was reported that he and the Cavaliers worked on a buyout of his contract. Rubio had a $6.1 million salary this season and was under contract for $6.4 million next season as the move gives Cleveland cap flexibility, according to ESPN

The Cavaliers' decision to buy Rubio out of his contract and his announcement to retire from the NBA doesn't necessarily mean that his playing days are over. If Rubio were to continue playing, he'd do so in his native Spain, ESPN reported. 

The Spaniard began his professional career in Spain as a 14-year-old, becoming a quick sensation. In the middle of his six years playing professional basketball in Spain, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Rubio with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He played two more seasons with FC Barcelona after getting drafted before making his NBA debut in the 2011-12 season. 

Rubio played with the Timberwolves for six seasons before getting traded to the Utah Jazz in 2017. He also played with the Phoenix Suns in the 2019-20 season before joining the Cavaliers in 2020-21. He was traded to the Indiana Pacers in 2022, but never played a game with Indiana as he was rehabbing from an ACL tear. He rejoined the Cavaliers as a free agent prior to the 2022-23 season.

"Special mention to Cleveland. My last home," Rubio wrote. "I know the way things ended have been tough. I could never have imagined the year would develop this way, but you have an amazing organization, with Koby [Altman] and JB [Bickerstaff], who have been extremely respectful and understanding of my situation and caring for me as a person."

Rubio was among the league's top passers over his 12 seasons in the NBA. He averaged 7.4 assists per game in his career, adding 10.8 and 4.1 rebounds per game. 

Rubio has also been one of the most accomplished Spanish players in international hoops. He helped Spain finish with a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics and the bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. He broke the record for most points scored against Team USA in an Olympic game in the 2020 Summer Games, scoring 38 points in Spain's quarterfinal loss that year. He also helped Spain win the FIBA World Cup in 2019.

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