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.