NBA Rumors Round-Up

NBA Rumors: Rubio Returning in 2-3 Weeks?

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Check out the biggest rumors of the day in our NBA Rumor Round-Up. For more rumors and news, check out Basketball Insiders’ headlines, which are constantly being updated.

Ricky Rubio Returning in 2-3 Weeks?

The Minnesota Timberwolves expect point guard Ricky Rubio to return from his severe ankle injury in mid-January, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

“I am trying to do my best,” Rubio said. “Sometimes it is a little bit painful. I got to get through that. Some things are mentally [challenging]. I just push myself and try to come back as soon as a I can.”

via Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports

The Timberwolves have been patient with Rubio, who just resumed basketball activities. He participated in a five-on-zero workout, shooting drills and running exercises this weekend, but is still having trouble changing directions as well as stopping and starting, according to Spears.

Rubio has missed 24 games since severely spraining his left ankle in a Nov. 7 game on the road against the Orlando Magic.

The Wolves are hoping that Rubio can participate in contact drills next week and then will be ready to return to action in two to three weeks.

In addition to being without Rubio, Minnesota also hasn’t had veterans Kevin Martin and Nik Pekovic due to injuries, which has really hurt the team throughout the season.

Prior to his injury, Rubio was averaging 9.4 points, 10 assists and 5.6 rebounds. The Timberwolves currently have the worst record in the Western Conference.

Lakers Claim Tarik Black Off Waivers

The Los Angeles Lakers have been awarded center Tarik Black on a waiver claim, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

via Lakers press release

In order to claim Black, the Lakers had to waive Xavier Henry since they had a full roster. Henry ruptured his Achilles tendon earlier this year and was expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Black played well this season with the Houston Rockets, but the team waived him in order to sign free agent Josh Smith. The team didn’t want to release Black, but they decided to part ways with him because they knew he’d be claimed off of waivers (so they wouldn’t have to pay his contract, allowing them to get under the luxury tax).

Black was an undrafted training camp invite who initially seemed like a long shot to make the Rockets. However, he played his way onto the final roster after an impressive training camp and preseason, making the team over Ish Smith and Jeff Adrien (even though both had guaranteed deals).

Black appeared in 25 games (12 starts) for the Rockets this season, averaging 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 54.2 percent from the field in 15.7 minutes per game.

A number of teams put in waiver claims for Black, but the Lakers were awarded the 23-year-old since they had the worst record of all the teams.

Hornets Assign Jeffrey Taylor to D-League

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has assigned forward Jeffery Taylor to the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League, pursuant to the flexible assignment rule.

via Hornets press release

Taylor missed the first 24 games of the 2014-15 NBA season because Commissioner Adam Silver suspended him after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and malicious destruction of hotel property in October.

Since serving his suspension, Taylor has appeared in three games for the Hornets this season, averaging 1.0 point and 1.3 rebounds in 6.0 minutes.

Hornets GM Rich Cho discussed the decision to send Taylor to the D-League saying: “As with Noah [Vonleh]’s situation, we think that Jeffery will benefit greatly by getting additional game action. Our depth at the wing position has limited his minutes and this D-League assignment will allow him to get some valuable playing time.”