Ricky Rubio had barely sat down for his Timberwolves media day news conference when a local sportswriting legend bellowed:

“Do you still want to get traded?”

Rubio rubbed his face, smiled. “You haven’t changed, huh?”

Welcome back to Minnesota. The question pertained to a June interview Rubio did with a radio station in his native Spain. He expressed frustration that he’d gone through five seasons without playing in one playoff game. How difficult, mentally, it can be when goals aren’t met.

“Next season will be crucial for me,” he said at the time.”I’ve been in the NBA for five years. And six years without the playoffs would be a long time. At 26, I’d have to start thinking about teams that can get into the playoffs and win in the finals.”

Hence the question: Do you still want to get traded?

“I didn’t say I wanted to get traded,” Rubio said. “I want to play with a winner. I think we have the right mentality. It’s changing.”

Well, this much is clear: This is a crucial year for Rubio, especially when it comes to his place on a team now coached by Tom Thibodeau, whose first big move upon being hired as the Wolves’ president of basketball operations was to choose Kris Dunn — a point guard by trade — with the fifth pick in the draft.