Ricky Rubio came "home" to Target Center Friday morning and almost didn't recognize the place.
"It doesn't feel like I'm here," he said.
(I stopped in Salt Lake City two weeks ago on my way home from Wolves' training camp in San Diego and get the reporting for a big story on Rubio's return that ran in today's paper. You can read it here.)
Traded by the Wolves to Utah last summer after six seasons here, he came back to a freshly renovated Target Center that makes its debut tonight just as Rubio does back here with his new Jazz team.
He spent part of Thursday night visiting friend and renter Nemanja Bjelica and Bjelica's newborn son at the home Rubio still owns in the area. He also spent some of the night walking around the city he still loves.
When asked how emotional he expects he'll be tonight, Rubio said, "I don't know. We will see when it comes time. Of course, I have a lot of friends. Last night, I was walking around the city and it felt like I never left. There are a lot of fans and a lot of friends here."
Wolves young star Karl-Anthony Towns credited Rubio for making him feel at home in Minnesota when he was drafted in 2015.
"Being able to play with him was a huge honor," Towns said. "I become a smarter player, I just learned a lot from him."
Asked how strange it will be to see Ricky in the opponent's uniform, Towns said, "I mean, how strange is it going to be with Ricky with a ponytail. How about that one?"
A couple other quick things from shoot:
* Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau called his decision to sit starter Jeff Teague and play backup point guard Tyus Jones the entire fourth quarter in Wednesday's season-opening loss at San Antonio an aberration. He said he planned to bring Teague back in the game with eight minutes left, then decided to stay with the group that was "rolling." When the Wolves took the lead with 4:50 left, he decided to stay with Jones and that group down the stretch.
He said Teague will finish "99 percent" of the games this season.
* The Wolves are wheeling and dealing in the G League. Their new Iowa team made a deal with Phoenix's G League team, sending the first overall pick in tomorrow's draft and the rights to Zach Andrews to the Northern Arizona Suns for Elijah Millsap, Michael Bryson and the eighth pick.