Blog Entry

A new twist on the Rubio situation

Posted on: June 28, 2009 6:59 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2009 9:47 am
In Ricky Rubio the Timberwolves drafted a player with more potential than any player they've acquired since Kevin Garnett. Not only does he have the ability to become a star talent, but also a star personality. He has the makings of someone who would not just generate wins, but also generate national and international interest in this team. He has the intangibles to once again put Minnesota on the map, not just as a legitimate franchise, but as an innovative force to be reckoned with throughout the NBA. Before any of that can *possibly* happen, the matter of his 6 million dollar buy out will need to be resolved.

A quick digression: Fuck all of the New York elitists and ESPN gossip girls that go against the very mission set forth in the United States Constitution and its assurance that all sports franchises are created equal, with their assertion that Rubio is entitled to play in the beloved Big Apple and should by force of David Stern, if necessary, be saved from the lowly fly over depths of the Minne Apple. The people of New York deserve Ricky Rubio, they would have you believe, while the people of Minnesota apparently deserve someone far less talented and charismatic. Us simple minded Mid-Westerners should happily accept whatever bucket of bolts they are willing to offer up in exchange for Rubio. And if you look at New York's roster you will see that I'm not far off in my comparison. My advice, should Donnie Walsh ever read this blog, is that the Knicks should try to suck harder than they usually do. You see by overpaying for marginal talent they manage to win just enough games to not totally suck but not nearly enough games to actually be good either. So they are always stuck in the lower-middle part of the draft taking guys like Jordan Hill, Danilo Gallinari, Renaldo Balkman, Channing Frye and Michael Sweetney. If they'd only lose a few more games they could legitimately draft the Ricky Rubios of the the world instead of trying to pry them away from other franchises based on their self-fulfilling divine right.

Rubio will make roughly $6 million over the first two years of his NBA contract. So in effect, based on salary alone, it would take him two years to pay off his buyout. Typically, European buyouts are paid off over time and not in one big shot. Before this starts to sound too unappealing you need to consider a few things. One, the exact amount of his buyout may be exaggerated. Right now, "they" are reporting $6 mil, but it will probably end up being a lot lower than that once the courts get ahold of it. Two, the big money will never come until he is playing in America. Putting the NBA off a year or two will do nothing but delay the inevitable. Three, once he is on an NBA court playing against the likes of LeBron, Kobe and Wade the endorsements will roll in. Little boys and girls in Spain, the Ukraine, Argentina and Guam aren't going to give a damn about what the weather is like in Minnesota or what the relative market size of the Twin Cities is compared to other NBA economies. They're going to buy his jersey and whatever products he endorses all the same. The money he will get from his first shoe contract will make the $6 million buyout look like chump change. Or should I say, New York change. Rubio, but more likely his agent, knows this and deep down is aware that if David Kahn and the TWolves want to play hardball, in the end, all roads to the NBA run through Minnesnowta.

A second digression: Shaq O'Neal has stated that to date he has never touched a dime from any of his NBA contracts. Instead, he lived eniterely off the money he received from various endorsement deals. From this I draw two conclusions. 1) Rubio and his family will be just fine no matter how big the buyout. 2) Shaq is very wealthy.

A new rumor adds a wrinkle to this whole affair. The theory goes that Rubio's current team in Spain (DKV Joventut) is merely posturing with the large buy out demands and that Rubio's "maybe I'll stay in Spain" thing is more of a way to call DKV's bluff than it is the Timberwolves'. DKV is effectively bankrupt and they want Rubio to leave in order to cash in on his buyout money. They know that he is going to leave eventually. If he waits out his contract, he walks and they get nothing. If he goes now, he pays and they survive.

A third and final digression: At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I really couldn't be happier with David Kahn's first six weeks on the job. He fired who he had to, traded who he needed to, ignored the risk and drafted who any GM trying to build a legit contender would have in Rubio, and even had the balls to take the other guy he wanted in Flynn, regardless of what Dick Vitale thought. He's also been extremely upfront with the local and national media and more importantly, with the fanbase. In a short amount of time he has somewhat unbelievably created a buzz around this team that was entirely dormant in the minds of most fans. So far he's playing the Rubio situation perfectly by stating there is no pressure on Rubio to come over. Casual observers might say he's being too soft. Anyone, who doesn't get 100% of their sports news from ESPN and has paid attention to how he operates hears the translation: Go ahead and sit in Europe for as long as you want. When you want to play in the NBA, book that ticket for MSP. 

Ultimately, we must remind ourselves that Rubio is 18 years old. Pause for a moment and reflect on what you were like at 18. Or I suppose what you will be like when you are 18. Though his actions might come off as disrespectful to the Timberwolves and their fans, you can't forget that he's really just a dumb kid. He'll say some stupid things, he already has. But really, he's just doing what his agent is telling him. Barring a Stephon Marbury emotional retardation sort of digression, he'll figure it out and eventually look pretty damn good in a Wolves uniform.


Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: July 1, 2009 10:43 am

A new twist on the Rubio situation

Maybe you should post in larger bold text more often if it gets this kind of comments discussion going. I just hope Rubio comes over this year so he's in NBA 2k10.

Since: Jun 29, 2009
Posted on: June 30, 2009 6:20 pm

A new twist on the Rubio situation

WOW I love your take on the situation!! I think the exact same thing! Great job cutting through the media blitz and getting down to the heart of the matter. I think Kevin Love and Al Jefferson will enjoy playing with Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, and Wayne Ellington!! I'm very high on Jonny Flynn as I think he is a STAR waiting to happen.  I think the New York Knicks are just bitter because once again they did not improve their team through the draft.  Yes some would say Jordan Hill is good but it's just that he's good at a position where many are good and few are great.  He will be a very replacable draft bust. Go Wolves! Go Ben Revere!!

Since: Jun 19, 2009
Posted on: June 30, 2009 10:32 am

A new twist on the Rubio situation

I really like your take on the rubio situation.  I would also add that this entire controversy over "Rubio hates minnesota - minnesota should trade him to the knicks - rubio scorns minny by missing rookie ceremony." All of this was MADE UP and fueled by all the media outlets.  If you can show me the sound bite that says Rubio hates Minnesota and wants to play in Europe or get traded to the Knicks, I would love to see it.  Here is the truth.  Rubio genuiely believed he would be picked in the top 3, and honestly he probably should have.  The starting rookie salary of the top 3 picks would have been enough to pay his buyout in year 1 and thus allowing (in his mind) him to play right away.  Now, of course, this is actually not the case but in his mind (most likely told by his father, agent, people surrounding him) he had to be a top 3 pick.  Being picked 5th probably had rubio in a panic because of all the variables that are in his way.  We must remember this kid is 18 and he is not a savvy business man nor should he pretend to be.  So that leaves us to the present and I think things are probably a lot more stable than everyone thinks.  I truly believe that Kahn and his staff have a plan in place to make his transition to the wolves as painless as possible.  Now whether that means sending Rubio back to spain to play a year or coming up with a reasonble plan to pay off his contract buyout without bankrupting the kid, the wolves brass has a plan.  I fully expect to see rubio in a wolves jersey either this year or next year.  I also believe he is gonna make ALL 4 teams that passed him by regret not taking him as his career plays out.  It's time to cut the crap media and start reporting the truth of the situation.  Nice post.

Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: June 29, 2009 12:36 pm

A new twist on the Rubio situation

I wouldn't at all be surprised if the Wolves partially drafted Flynn because they knew Sacramento really liked him. I also wouldn't be surprised if Sacramento partially drafted Evans because they knew the Wolves really liked him. If you think about it, neither player really makes sense for their team. As much as I like Flynn, if I could flip him along with anyone not named Jefferson, Love and Rubio and a future 1st for Evans I would do it in a second. 

Since: May 5, 2009
Posted on: June 29, 2009 12:29 pm

A new twist on the Rubio situation

I heard the draft picks driving to the airport and my initial reaction was confusion, then as I thought about the draft without the din of pre-packaged ESPN commentary on the plane the whole situation grew on me.  It grew on me too a point  that when we touched down at LAX I was wondering how freakin' good is Kahn.  He knew two things and played them perfectly, wolves need assets and the wolves need leverage with said assets: enter Johnny Flynn.  With the drafting of Flynn they can continue to grow and get better if Rubio ecides to play hard ball.  If Rubio stays they have an asset that will only appreciate in value over the next year or two without a gapping hole in our line-up.  If he comes over we have about a 99% finally solving out point guard problem.  We also have about a 60% chance of having two players in the most valuable position on the court.  Robio may or may not play here (my gut is not) but we absolutely will get value for him because we don't "need" him or a player right now.

What's with the shot a soccer on a wolves board?  Haters hate I guess.

Can't agree more on the NY thing. I love the city, great place to visit, unlike anything I have ever seen in the U.S. but it without question has a superiority complex.  Just drips off the locals and media when you go there.  At least New York has that attitude but they have a really cool city vrs LA.  They have that attitude and live in an absolute outhouse. Worst place to visit I have ever gone.

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: June 29, 2009 12:10 pm

A new twist on the Rubio situation

From TrueHoop:

"I have talked to sources in several NBA front offices -- and elsewhere -- who are knowledgeable of the situation. Want to know how many of them buy Kahn's reasoning? None. Not one believes it even a little bit. Collectively, the executives rank the likelihood of a long-term Rubio and Flynn tandem at precisely zero."



Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: June 29, 2009 11:20 am

A new twist on the Rubio situation

I heard that, given his 200,000 salary, a 6 million dollar buyout is considered ridiculous and would be struck down.

I really think Rubio's agent's just doing what he thinks is best - trying to go to a team that Rubio would /rather/ play for, and using whateverleverage he has. I don't like it, but it's pretty understandable. Hopefully this ends sooner than later, and it'll be up to Rubio to also take the advice to mend the fence with Wolves fans. But I think it'll happen.

The coach does matter quite a bit. In Rubio's defense, from an outsider's perspective there can definitely be a blief for the Wolves organization to be the most clueless in the NBA (which I don't agree with, but the perception is there for a reason).

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: June 29, 2009 10:16 am

A new twist on the Rubio situation

I am very excited to see Rubio playing for Min.  I think that a guy like Love will play very well into Rubio's speed to the rim crazy passes. 

As far as Rubio's attitude about playing in Min:  I think that coach selection make or break his NBA now or later issue.  Just my thoughts.

Van Pelt: "Soccer, to me, just seems like a football game with ONLY incomplete passes."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or