LOS ANGELES – When his name circulated in trade rumors before last season’s trade deadline, Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio said he wanted to speak to management about it.
Now that a Yahoo Sports report Tuesday said the Wolves are “actively shopping” him to make room eventually for rookie Kris Dunn, Rubio said before Thursday night’s game against the Clippers that he will just play on.
“Just do what I do,” said Rubio, who went scoreless in the first half Thursday and didn’t play in the second because of tightness in his left hip. “My name or every name is going to be out there at some point, but you can only worry about things you can control. Right now, what I can control is playing my best and do what I’ve been doing.”
Doing what he does, Rubio has been pretty good. Entering Thursday, he had 70 assists and 16 turnovers in his previous five games and was averaging 13.2 points, 14.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals in those games.
His 21 points in Tuesday’s loss at San Antonio were a season high, and his 14 free throws attempted and 13 made were both career highs.
“It’s easier to do now,” Rubio said of ignoring such rumors. “I’ve been playing with more confidence.”
Get out the vote
NBA players had their 25 percent say in All-Star Game starters’ balloting this season for the first time, and nine Wolves received at least one vote when final results were released Thursday. Karl-Anthony Towns tied for 10th in Western Conference frontcourt balloting and Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins also got votes.
Rubio didn’t get a vote, but reserves Cole Aldrich (three), Tyus Jones, Nemanja Bjelica, Gorgui Dieng, Adreian Payne and now-waived John Lucas III and did.
Players could vote for themselves, but Payne vowed he didn’t do so. “Hell no,” he said. “I want to know who did. Whoever did it, I’ll send them a pair of shoes.”
Aldrich admitted he voted for himself. “Hell yeah, why not?” he asked. “I just want to know who the other two idiots were who voted for me.”
Clipped by injuries
The Clippers played without All-Stars Chris Paul (thumb ligament surgery) and Blake Griffin (knee), just as they did at the end of last season, when both were injured in a first-round playoff series against Portland. After leading the series 2-1, the Clippers lost it 4-2.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said he has seen friend and Clippers coach Doc Rivers adapt before and predicted he will again.
“They’ve been through this a number of times,” Thibodeau said. “I think they’ve figured it out how to navigate through things.”
KG’s new role
Rivers last week signed Wolves great Kevin Garnett as a consultant who will work with the team’s big men, but Towns said Garnett was, is and always will be his mentor.
“Of course, he’s my brother,” Towns said when asked if his teammate last season still offers advice, if from long distance. “We’ve kept in touch a lot, there’s always communication going on with him.
“He’s amazing. His leadership qualities obviously translate even without him having to put the shoes on.”
• Wolves forward Shabazz Muhammad on the NFL’s Oakland Raiders filing paperwork to move to his hometown, Las Vegas: “That’s great for the city. It’d be nice if an NBA team could be there, too.”
• Garnett had former Vikings star Randy Moss as a special guest on his “Area 21” segment that’s now part of TNT’s Thursday night NBA coverage.