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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio is taking a hiatus from his professional basketball career to focus on his mental health, he announced Saturday.
“I have decided to stop my professional activity to take care of my mental health,” Rubio said in a statement released by the Spanish Basketball Federation. “I want to thank all the support I have received from the Spanish national team to understand my decision. Today #family makes more sense than ever. Thank you. I would ask that my privacy be respected so that I can face these moments and be able to give more information when the time is right.”
Rubio was slated to be a cornerstone on the Spanish national team’s FIFA World Cup team. He was named tournament MVP after leading Spain to a championship at the 2019 event.
Rubio’s status for the upcoming NBA season is unclear. The 32-year-old struggled in his return from an ACL tear last season, averaging 5.2 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 34.3 percent from the floor in 33 games. The Cavaliers owe Rubio $12.6 million over the next two seasons.
Spain currently sits atop the FIBA rankings after winning the 2022 European championships but will head into the World Cup with a shaky roster after the loss of Rubio and Lorenzo Brown.
Sergio Llull, a veteran on the international stage and one of the greatest European players of his generation to never play in the NBA, will likely take Rubio’s spot in the starting lineup. Jaime Fernandez should also see an increase in playing time at the point guard spot.
Should Rubio’s absence extend into the NBA season, the Cavaliers may need to make a move for a backup point guard behind Darius Garland. Rubio had been inked into that spot, and neither Donovan Mitchell nor Caris LeVert have the pass-first mentality of Garland and Rubio.