As long as Sixers "Hot Stove" talk is finally a popular thing again, let's add today's piece of small wood to the kindling pit.

We all know that a starting NBA-caliber point guard is the biggest need the Sixers have failed to address since dealing reigning rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams at the trade deadline in 2015.

The inability to trade up in last Thursday's draft stopped them from getting a high-end rookie point/combo guard such as Kris Dunn of Providence or Jamal Murray of Kentucky. Doing so would have made a great draft a spectacular one.

The Sixers aren't going to get Mike Conley, who is the top-rated free-agent point guard, no matter how much they could offer him and should not dare to bring Rajon Rondo, the second-rated, into a young, impressionable locker room.

The next five -- Jeremy Lin, Deron Williams, Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson and Matthew Dellavedova -- fall in those spots because somebody has to fall into those positions.

With the NBA salary cap rising to more than $90 million, those guys are going to be way overpaid simply because so many teams have money that even the most modest free agents will have more than one suitor.

A trade is the best option for the Sixers to acquire the lead guard they desperately need, and that best candidate is Minnesota veteran Ricky Rubio, who suddenly became redundant when the Timberwolves selected Dunn fifth overall.

The stories out of Minneapolis are that Rubio is on the market, and the Sixers would be a good trade partner.

At just 25, Rubio is young enough to fit with the Sixers' still-building program. He is only three years older than Dunn but has five years of NBA experience, starting 258 of 278 games while averaging 31.5 minutes.

With a career average of 10.1 points and a shooting percentage of 36.8 percent (31.8 on three-pointers), Rubio does not fit the role of today's scoring-minded point guard.

In a sense, however, a pass-first point guard who is more focused on creating for his teammates than himself is exactly what the Sixers need at this moment in the team's development.

Rubio ranked fifth in the NBA with 8.6 assists, trailing Rondo (11.7) and All-Stars Russell Westbrook (10.4), John Wall (10.2) and Chris Paul (10.0).

While Rubio, 6-4, is not considered a great defender - another reason defensive-minded new head coach Tom Thibodeau might prefer Dunn - Rubio was second to MVP Stephen Curry by a tenth of a percentage point with 2.13 steals per game.

With possibly three rookies in No.1 overall pick Ben Simmons, double red-shirt center Joel Embiid and Croatian forward Dario Saric, whose long-awaited arrival from Turkey is just a contract signing away, plus returning all-rookie first-team big man Jahlil Okafor, the Sixers' emphasis will be on player and team development.

A facilitating point guard such as Rubio would be perfect for getting young big players to understand where they should be on offense. He would also be a point who can get them the ball in positions where they can be most effective.

Looking at the $42.7 million Rubio is still owed over the next three seasons might cause a double-take, but when you contrast it with the amount of money lesser point guards are going to make because they are simply available at an unprecedented time in free-agent money, Rubio's deal will soon be a bargain for a legitimate starting point guard.

If you are wondering why there is no mention of third-year center Nerlens Noel while analyzing the Sixers, wel,l he would be the bait to offer Minnesota for Rubio.

A Noel for Rubio trade actually works for both teams.

Noel's much-touted strength is that as a rim protector, something Thibodeau would value. Noel's averages of 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks are all slightly better than T-Wolves anticipated starting center Gorgui Dieng's.

Noel, however, is four years younger than Dieng.

Noel, who likely would not fit playing with Embiid or Okafor, however, would be a nice complement to rookie-of-the-year power forward Karl-Anthony Towns.

If Minnesota did not want Noel, the Sixers could offer one of those future first-round draft picks they have acquired and other things to facilitate a deal.

The best thing for the Sixers about acquiring Rubio is that while he would be the point guard for today, he does not prevent them from acquiring their point guard of the future.

Next year's draft is reportedly loaded with top-level point guards – a couple who are supposedly grading out higher than Dunn and Murray. Still, if the Sixers draft a point guard next year, he is likely to be another "one-and-done" teenager who would benefit from a season of learning from Rubio.

Come the 2018-19 season, when that point guard will presumably be ready,  Rubio would still be just 27 with one of those expiring contracts that are easy to move at a trade deadline.

Right now, the Sixers don't have a lot of great options for acquiring a point guard, but trading for Rubio would be a very good one.