SALT LAKE CITY — Ricky Rubio put on a good front on Thursday leading up to the NBA trade deadline.
The Jazz point guard, who knew all too well that his name was being discussed in potential trades, fired off three tweets making light of the situation. He poked fun at sources, joked that his code to the practice facility still worked and wondered if he turned his phone to airplay mode if anything actually counted.
They were funny; but make no mistake, Rubio didn’t enjoy the final hours before the deadline. He was at the Jazz practice facility with Joe Ingles and Kyle Korver without really any control over his future.
“It wasn't fun at all,” Rubio said. “But if you don’t have fun at tough moments, it’s not fun. So do I like it? No. I hate it. It is what it is — move on, move past and keep playing.”
That’s what Rubio and the Jazz are looking forward to doing now that the deadline has passed — playing the game without rumors flying around.
The deadline talks had begun to wear on the players. They are human. And seeing constant reports can take its toll. The Jazz players like each other, they like playing together and they didn’t really want to see their team get broken up.
Rubio on the deadline: “If you don’t have fun in tough moments, it’s not fun. ... Do I like it? No. I hate it.” pic.twitter.com/zcCzSqwAC5— Ryan Miller (@millerjryan) February 8, 2019
“It’s great,” Rubio said. “We have a great group of guys. I’ve never been on a team where each other has each other's back. We love each other here. They showed it with me yesterday, we showed it with (Derrick Favors). Teams sometimes upstairs, they don’t feel like chemistry matters but sometimes it matters more than anything.”
You could take that as a shot at the Utah front office or just a general statement about how organizations work — Rubio wasn't clear with the remarks. But, regardless, he is happy to still be in a Jazz uniform.
“I’m here to play basketball, and I love it here,” he said.
Ricky Rubio: “Sometimes (chemistry) matters more than anything.” pic.twitter.com/jXc3XjypWN— Ryan Miller (@millerjryan) February 8, 2019
Favors, whose name was also floated around before the deadline, had a pretty relaxed morning. In fact, it was just a typical deadline day for Favors. His name gets floated around a lot, but he remains in Utah.
“It wasn’t stressful for me,” Favors said. “I was with my kids yesterday, so it wasn't as stressful for me. I think, as a team, everybody is happy and relieved just to get that part over with just so you don’t have to think about it no more, just move on with the season.”
But Favors did acknowledge that there was a sense of relief on Friday at the Jazz’s first practice since the deadline.
“A lot of guys had more calmness at practice today,” Favors said. “They don't have to deal with the rumors, the speculation and stuff. I think everyone enjoyed today. Just that first day of not having to deal with it. It was pretty good for us.”
The Jazz play their first post-deadline game on Saturday at 3 p.m. MST in Vivint Arena against the Spurs.
“I feel the same way about this team that I have,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “They are fun to come to work with, it’s a good group. I think we are getting better and I’m excited to keep playing with these guys.”