Posted on: August 31, 2009 8:52 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2009 11:21 pm
It took David Kahn three trips to Spain to learn what he essentially already knew: Ricky Rubio will remain overseas for two more years.
That much seemed apparent on draft night, when Rubio expressed as little enthusiasm for playing in Minnesota as a human being could possibly express. Kahn, the house-cleaning GM of the Timberwolves, knew when he selected Rubio with the fifth pick that having him on the roster this season was a long shot. So it goes.
Yahoo! Sports first reported Monday night that Rubio and agent Dan Fegan have agreed to a six-year deal with Regal FC Barcelona. It was the Barcelona club -- and not Kahn's Timberwolves -- that after weeks of uncertainty was able to negotiate a buyout with Rubio's Spanish team, JKV Joventut, a high-level coaching source confirmed to CBSSports.com. Naturally, there is an out clause in Rubio's deal with Barcelona after two years. This means that the T-Wolves are going to have to do exactly what Kahn said on draft night he was willing to do: Wait until Rubio is 20 years old before seeing him in Minnesota.
So if nothing else, at least the Rubio situation is resolved. At least the T-Wolves can move forward with a perfectly good explanation for drafting point guard Jonny Flynn one pick after Rubio. Say what you want about Kahn -- and plenty have and will continue to -- but he didn't budge from his draft night premise that he was willing to wait a couple of years for Rubio. So Rubio will mature and get better -- albeit against sub-NBA competition -- and Kahn's team will begin the rebuilding process with a very capable point guard in Flinn. Can the two play together in the same backcourt in 2011-12? Time will tell. But in the meantime, Kahn moves forward with a formidable asset in Rubio. Even if he never plays a single game in Minnesota.
Kahn is quickly becoming the most mysterious executive in the NBA, tearing a page straight from the book written by his mentor, Donnie Walsh. He is humorless and needs to brush up on his people skills -- despite the fact that he's a former member of the media. (Maybe this explains why he is a former member.) But I'll give him credit for this much: It took a certain amount of gumption to welcome a controversy like this with the very first and most important decision of his regime. Whether it ultimately works out or not is very much an unknown. Say Kahn is in over his head if you want; you might ultimately be correct. But I have no problem giving Kahn credit for being unafraid of Fegan and all the contractual entanglements that came with Rubio. Enjoy Barcelona, Ricky. See you in 2011.
Posted on: August 10, 2009 11:56 am
Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis is finalizing contract details to become the Timberwolves' next head coach, with the agreement expected to be signed Tuesday, according to a person involved in the negotiations.
Posted on: August 6, 2009 11:30 am
Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis has traveled to Minnesota to meet for a third time with Timberwolves officials about the team's long-vacant head coaching job. A person with direct knowledge of the talks confirmed that Rambis has emerged as the favorite to succeed Kevin McHale and is awaiting a formal contract proposal.
The T-Wolves, led by new GM David Kahn, have undertaken a thorough and painstaking process to name a replacement for McHale, who left the organization amid disagreements with Kahn about how to remake the roster. Kahn interviewed a laundry list of current assistant coaches for the job, illustrating the T-Wolves' unsurprising efforts to minimize the cost of a head coaching hire. The list was recently narrowed to three candidates: Rambis, ESPN/ABC analyst Mark Jackson, and Rockets assistant Elston Turner.
Minnesota's coaching search has been sidetracked this summer by Kahn's efforts to broker a buyout with No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio's Spanish team, DKV Joventut. Kahn and T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor met with Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, last month at Las Vegas Summer League, and Kahn also traveled to Spain in an effort to broker a deal. While Fegan attempts to secure endorsement deals for Rubio that would help fund his buyout -- the T-Wolves can contribute only $500,000 under NBA rules -- Joventut reportedly is weighing whether to accept a buyout or sell his contract to another European team, which could be more lucrative.
Rambis, who helped coach the Lakers to their 15th NBA title in June, has emerged as the favorite partly due to Fegan's fondness for him -- the theory being that hiring a coach Rubio finds acceptable would enhance the chances of the 18-year-old point guard reporting to Minnesota rather than continuing to play overseas.
Rambis going to Minnesota would essentially clear a path for Lakers assistant Brian Shaw to become Phil Jackson's right-hand man on the Lakers' bench and eventually succeed Jackson when he retires.
Posted on: July 13, 2009 11:22 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2009 11:42 pm
LAS VEGAS -- Ricky Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, met with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor Monday to get acquainted and attempt to resolve the logjam that has the Spanish point guard almost certainly headed back to Spain for at least a year or two.
Nothing was decided at two separate meetings at the COX Pavilion during summer league play, and a resoolution is not imminent, according to a person familiar with the meetings. Minnesota thus far has resisted any overtures aimed at trading Rubio to a team that he'd be willing to join immediately.
Timberwolves GM David Kahn reiterated that he is prepared to be "extremely patient" with Rubio, "even if it means waiting a year or two." Rubio, 18, decided after Minnesota draft him that he preferred to return to his Spanish team rather than negotiate a buyout. All the Timberwolves can contribute to the buyout, according to the collective bargaining agreement, is $500,000. The buyout in his contract with DKV Joventut originally was for $6.6 million, but recent reports have placed it closer to the $4 million range.
The T-Wolves, who also drafted point guard Jonny Flynn, of course would retain Rubio's rights while he is playing overseas. He would be 20 years old and more experience when he eventually returned to the NBA.
Posted on: July 2, 2009 12:55 am
With word Wednesday night that Doug Collins has removed his name from consideration for the Pistons' head coaching job, Avery Johnson has emerged as the clear favorite to succeed Michael Curry in Detroit.
As he did with the Sixers' job earlier this offseason, Collins flirted with the idea of returning to the sideline but ultimately couldn't resist staying in the relatively blissful world of basketball broadcasting. All in all, that's good for basketball fans because I think Collins is as good as it gets when it comes to NBA color commentators. A little over the top sometimes, but outstanding nonetheless.
So after Collins informed Pistons president Joe Dumars that he was no longer pursuing the job, a source familiar with the situation confirmed, it is now clearly Johnson's job to lose. The former Mavericks coach makes sense on so many levels. Dumars has stated that he wants a more experienced coach. Johnson was a winner in Dallas, and by now he's had time to reflect on some of the things he did wrong -- primarily being too rigid. The third box the Pistons can check off is that Johnson is still getting paid by the Mavericks next season, so he comes at a discount. For similar reasons, I believe Sam Mitchell will get the job in Minnesota. Dollars and cents and past success equals a new opportunity for both. Stay here for updates.
Posted on: June 27, 2009 1:23 am
Reading between the lines is a favorite pastime when it comes to the Knicks. Anything remotely resembling a clue that the NBA's supposed flagship franchise might acquire one of basketball's hottest commodities results in endless speculation, twisted interpretation, and innuendo.
See the entry under James, LeBron.
Now see the new entry under Rubio, Ricky.
Meeting with the media at the Knicks' Westchester County training facility on Friday, team president Donnie Walsh mentioned that he planned to call his former employee, Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn, to find out why he drafted so many point guards. And yes, Walsh coyly stated, Rubio's cold response to being drafted by the 'Wolves and his probable return to Spain as a result would be discussed.
I shudder at the thought of viewing the back pages of the New York tabloids on Saturday. For one, it's my first day off in a long time. For another, Rubio most certainly will be pictured there. If not for Michael Jackson, Rubio might be on the front page.
As I tried to tell you on draft night, there's no need for this. Kahn isn't trading Rubio. He's not going to be a Knick, no matter how much agent Dan Fegan wants him to be. This should be the end of it.
Hot items like Rubio have a long shelf life in the basketball-starved New York news cycle. And yes, things change. Circumstances change. People have a right to change their minds. But as of now, Kahn believes in Rubio so much that he's willing to wait a year or two for him to come out of exile in Spain. And the Knicks like their first-round pick, Jordan Hill, just fine.
"Kahn thinks Rubio is the best point ever," a knowledgeable, high-level basketball source told me. And the Knicks? Coach Mike D'Antoni, the person said, "loves Hill. Both stay put."
Just to make sure, I asked the same person early Saturday if anything had changed or was expected to change based on Walsh's planned conversation with Kahn.
"No," he said.
But just to satisfy the endless thirst for a splashy move by the Knicks, what is the best they could offer Minnesota in such a deal? Not Hill, but restricted free agent David Lee, who has received a qualifying offer from the Knicks and can be signed-and-traded after the league and NBA Players Association agree on the 2009-10 salary cap and luxury tax in mid-July. Last time I checked, the Timberwolves have Al Jefferson. No disrespect to Lee, but Jefferson is better.
Yes, things change and circumstances change. And people have the right to change their minds. But as another high-level basketball source (note sarcasm) said as one of the media availability sessions ended during the NBA Finals: "Move along. There's nothing to see here."
Posted on: June 25, 2009 8:56 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2009 1:19 am
Discussions between the Suns and Warriors about a trade that would send Amare Stoudemire to Golden State were advancing Thursday night, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com.
Posted on: June 25, 2009 4:16 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 7:21 pm
It's three hours and counting until the Clippers are on the clock, so here's another dose of buzz and other tidbits. A caveat: This late in the game is when some of the most scurrilous subterfuge is pawned off -- not only on reporters, but on the executives and other high-level people who provide information to reporters. It gets harder and harder to see through all the smoke, but here's the latest of what my sources are hearing: