Tag:Ricky Rubio
Posted on: June 2, 2011 12:31 am
Edited on: June 2, 2011 6:52 am

Love on Rubio: 'I'll believe it when I see it'

Posted by Royce Young

There's no doubt that the drafting of Ricky Rubio and his unwillingness to come play for the Timberwolves has been quite the sore spot for general manager David Kahn. It's been embarrassing.

But with word that Rubio will sign with the Wolves and play in the NBA next season -- if there is a season -- there's reason to be excited. The long nightmare is over and finally the Spanish floppy-haired savior is coming. You're psyched, right Kevin Love?

Love's next two tweets said, "Just thinking about pick and rolls... goodnight" and then "Pick...N...Rolls." That sort of suggests Love wasn't entirely serious with his original tweet. Still though, with as sensitive as that situation has been and as embarrassing as it's been for the organization, that's a pretty wild thing for the face of the franchise to say.

"I'll believe it when I see it" is pretty much what everyone is saying because of the way the Rubio situation has been handled, but it reeks of a lack of faith in management to actually get it done. Almost like Love is saying, "Yeah right, like this front office finally got this done." Not exactly a ringing endorsement. But again, let me say: He could just be making a silly. Hard to really decipher in a tweet.

Which means we might be reading into this too much but still, Love's reaction isn't saying, "Woo! Rubio! Championship!" Maybe he's not nearly as excited about the supposed Euro "phenom" as some are. I guess it has been two years. That new car smell has pretty much worn off. The hype machine has died down.

I'm sort of like Love. When I see Rubio actually in a Minnesota Timberwolves uniform, then I'll believe this is true. That should tell you the kind of mess this has been.

Posted on: June 1, 2011 10:57 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 6:44 am

Reports: Ricky Rubio agrees to join Timberwolves

Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio reportedly has agreed to join the Minnesota Timberwolves. Posted by Ben Golliver. ricky-rubio

Is the long wait for Ricky Rubio finally over?

A person who requested anonymity and  with knowledge of the agreement confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday that the Spanish point guard will play in the NBA next season.

KFAN reported Wednesday night that the Timberwolves "have secured deal with Ricky Rubio to join team next season."

Yahoo! Sports reported soon after that Rubio has reached an agreement to join the Timberwolves, although the site noted that it's possible he did not yet sign a contract.
Ricky Rubio has reached an agreement with Minnesota to join the Timberwolves next season. There was a Tuesday deadline to sign under rookie scale of current CBA, and no announcement's expected until after Rubio's Euro playoffs end.

It's unclear whether Rubio signed agreement on Tuesday, or merely promised to exercise his Spanish buyout on July 1 and then sign with Minnesota.
The Associated Press confirmed the agreement.
A person with knowledge of the agreement confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Spanish point guard will play in the NBA next season. The person requested anonymity because Rubio is still playing for his team in the Euroleague playoffs.
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger also confirmed the report and noted that "Rubio agreed to a $1.2 million buyout with FC Barcelona, $500,000 of which is paid by Minnesota under NBA rules." He points out that Rubio's agreement "met NBA operational deadline to fall under current rookie scale."

Berger also notes that the news is going over big in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Rubio signing is a "huge shot in the arm," a source tells him.

The Star-Tribune reported that the agreement is "signed, a done deal to meet the current CBA deadline. Not an agreement to sign later" and that Rubio "will be introduced at a Timberwolves news conference after the Spanish league finals end later this month."

Finally, SI.com reported: "If there is a prolonged lockout, it's likely Rubio will continue to play for Barcelona, a plan the Timberwolves have endorsed."

Rubio's journey to Minnesota has been a long one. The team has worked for nearly two years to convince him to leave FC Barcelona to join the Timberwolves. Rubio's age, a hefty buyout on his contract and Minnesota's status as an NBA backwater and also-ran are thought to have been factors delaying his decision to come to the States. Timberwolves president David Kahn has taken enormous flak for his decision to draft Rubio given the player's initial reluctance to come to the NBA.

Still just 20 years old, Rubio brings loads of potential to the table, despite the fact that he's had a somewhat disappointing season. Rubio has elite passing instincts and ball-handling ability and has logged minutes for the Spanish National Team, including during the 2008 Olympics.  During the 2010-2011 season, Rubio has averaged 5.3 points and 4.4 assists in 23 minutes per game during ACB league play, Spain's top division. 

Assuming an agreement is completed and that he's not traded, Rubio pencils in as Minnesota's starting point guard next season. Minnesota has two other point guards on the roster for next season: veteran Luke Ridnour and third year player Jonny Flynn. Drafted one spot behind Rubio in 2009, Flynn has struggled with injury and grasping coach Kurt Rambis' triangle offense and has failed to materialize as a franchise point guard. Ridnour is a very capable back-up guard.
Posted on: May 19, 2011 2:49 pm

Pacers dangling Granger to get to No. 2?

Posted by Royce Young

The word is that the Timberwolves are shopping the No. 2 overall pick around. I already sort of covered this, but right now, David Kahn doesn't seem to have a lot of need for another young project player but is instead looking to acquire some veteran talent. So with that knowledge out there, teams are calling and talking.

One that's surfaced? The Pacers.

According to a tweet from Sam Amico of Fox Sports, the Pacers are "making a seriously play" for the No. 2 pick. By "serious," the word is that Danny Granger is part of a proposed deal along with Ricky Rubio and Michael Beasley.

In other words, wow, that would be a pretty major deal.

It's all talk at this point, but maybe there's a bit of fire to go with this smoke. Granger has been rumored to be on and off the trade block in Indiana a couple times in the past year and with Derrick Williams from Arizona being the likely prize at No. 2, Larry Bird is willing to trade his franchise player for a shot at a new one.

Or maybe Enes Kanter who has the look of a solid starting power forward, something the Pacers have been hunting for a while especially since unloading Troy Murphy. Yes, seriously.

I can't say that I quite understand why Rubio and Beasley were also included in the deal, but hey, it's David Kahn and I'm not going to start posing questions that have no answers.
Posted on: May 5, 2011 2:58 pm

Timberwolves brass chasing Ricky Rubio in Spain

The Minnesota Timberwolves are visiting point guard Ricky Rubio in Spain in an attempt to bring him to the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver. ricky-rubio

It's the NBA's version of Groundhog Day: Every six weeks or so, a report out of Minnesota indicates that the Timberwolves are somehow progressing towards bringing Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio to the NBA. 

The most recent edition, courtesy of the Star-Tribune, notes that Timberwolves brass, including president David Kahn and assistant GM Tony Ronzone, are in Europe to meet with Rubio in an attempt to get something done in the short term.
A Timberwolves contingent led by David Kahn are spending the next week in Spain for this weekend's Euroleague Final Four and to continue work they intend will get Ricky Rubio signed to a NBA contract within a month. 
But his team still has Spanish league play left during a European season that, like the NBA, never seems to end. That fact could complicate the timing of a completed deal because Rubio must exercise a $1 million-plus buyout with his Barcelona team and because Rubio and his family don't want it to appear as if he already has a foot out the door to the NBA before his team's season concludes.
The paper goes on to note that if Rubio signs before May 31 he will qualify under the current rookie scale contract set-up rather than have an uncertain contract status in whatever faces rookies in a renegotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But ProBasketballTalk.com notes that the money situation really isn't all that favorable in Minnesota and Rubio needn't be in a huge rush to get things done.
The NBA rookie scale is already very restrictive — Rubio would take more than a 50 percent pay cut to leave Barcelona for the Wolves right now, and he would be locked into that rookie deal for at least three and more likely five years. The new CBA may make the rookie scale a little smaller, but the owners are far more concerned about long-term free agent deals and restricting those than the rookie scale. The owners love the rookie scale. 
If Rubio waits a third year after his draft (one more season), he is no longer subject to the NBA rookie scale. This is what Tiago Splitter did to the Spurs — he waited it out then came over on his own financial terms.
So if the money isn't a deal-maker, then it's on the Timberwolves to prove to Rubio that they are a more desirable place to ply his basketball trade than Barcelona, one of Europe's most well-regarded clubs in one of the world's most beautiful cities playing in front of countrymen, friends and family. 

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, finished with the NBA's worst record even though they won two more games than last season! The roster has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese inside a moon crater, their coach is permanently on the hot seat and, should he be unable to deliver Rubio for next season, Kahn will be too. 

Generally whenever a European star decides to come to the NBA the first words out of his mouth are: "The time was right." It's difficult to imagine how next season, with the lockout and Minnesota's outlook, could be the right time for Rubio.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 7:03 pm

The Kahn Saga: Wolves still chasing their tail

Posted by Royce Young

David Kahn held a press conference Wednesday. During that, he had a fun quote.

We're ahead of where we thought we'd be with the roster.

I can definitely see his point. The Wolves went an NBA worst 17-65 this season, still don't have Ricky Rubio, just signed Darko Milicic to a $20 million deal, don't have a roster with any cohesiveness and really don't appear to have an end game in this rebuilding project.

Yep, right where they want to be.

Kahn has found his way on to the hot seat so he's doing what any self-preserving person would do -- pass the buck. As Ken Berger wrote yesterday, Kahn refused to give coach Kurt Rambis any sort of vote of confidence and basically just stopped short of saying he was gone. Berger said, according to connected sources, that Rambis is pretty much a guarantee to be fired.

It's natural to blame Rambis, who hasn't been able to employ his run-and-gun version of the triangle offense in Minnesota. Under him, the Wolves are 32-132. That's a 2009-10 season of 15-67 and this season of 17-65. You can call it whatever you want -- rebuilding, restructing, whatever -- but the reality is, that's just terrible.

Those two years have also come with Kahn running the show after replacing GM Kevin McHale. Kahn inherited a 24-58 team and turned them into a 15-win disaster. Before that 15-win season, he drafted Ricky Rubio and then took another point guard another pick later. Rubio still has yet to play for the Wolves and might not ever. His other point guard, Jonny Flynn, has largely been a disappointment.

Kahn basically tried to dump the roster and unload his cruddy players with a mind to acquire talent and cap space, a la the Presti Plan that the Thunder used to build a winner. Two problems with that plan: 1) The Wolves didn't draft Kevin Durant and 2) David Kahn is not Sam Presti.

I don't think anyone could even dare to sum up the Kahn era better than the good people at Canis Hoopus did. One particular point they addressed was Kahn's statement that the roster was nearly complete. To quote Hoopus, "This is a horrifying thing to think about, let alone take seriously." Nothing quite says Kahn is out of touch with his own rebuilding project better than that. To see a roster that's chasing its tail, running the hamster wheel or whatever "stuck in place" analogy you want, and say it's right you want to be and even better than that, it's almost done, is borderline crazy talk.

There's good news though. I wrote about it a month ago. The Wolves DO have talent. They DO have some players to build around. Kevin Love is very good, Anthony Randolph is talented and Michael Beasley seems like a potential star scorer that's just a bit lost. Then there's the dream Ricky the Savior. But it doesn't feel like Kahn has any idea what to do with those players. It's kind of like someone dangles a talented but troubled player in front of him and he can't help but bite.

And how is he supposed to convince Love to hang around when it's going like this? Love's not stupid. He's not going to hear, "We're almost there!" and buy it. Kahn's press conference was the "Mission Accomplished" moment of his tenure in Minnesota. He's officially jumped his own shark.

Did you know: The Wolves last two seasons are the fourth-worst in NBA history. History! And somehow it's all right on track?

If this is the near finished product, I'm not sure that's really all that inspiring. Remember the whole "We're transparent!" thing the Wolves tried to pull back in October? They published a full-page ad saying honesty was the best policy. One part read, "
We now have more shooting, athleticism and depth at every position, which will make us a better team this season. So will we challenge for the NBA championship this year? Not likely. Ouch. This honesty thing is a bit painful. But the reality is, we still need that one dominant player." Come on down, Anthony Randolph!

I guess the Wolves were right. They had a little more at every position. As a result, they won two more games. From 15 to 17. Progress! One more snippet for fun:

"There’s been a lot of talk this off-season. The naysayers certainly have been vocal. And while we can understand a certain amount of skepticism, we know we’ve turned the corner. And we’re anxious to get after that first tipped ball so we can start to prove it. Enough talk. It’s time to play."

Gotta wonder if they're regretting trying to pull that whole honesty thing. When you stink, you stink. Kahn trying to tell fans and media in Minnesota that things are right on track sounds more like a pathetic attempt at positively spinning a disastrous season than being transparent and honest. Transparent and honest would've sounded more like, "Man, we've got a long way to go. I really thought we'd be better by now."

Kahn senses the bell tolling for him, so he's pulling out the stops and pointing at Rambis. I think Rambis is a good coach. Maybe the roster hasn't responded to him, but it's not his fault here. Reality is, this roster isn't ready to win even if John Wooden were coaching it.

But don't worry you guys, it's all part of the plan. 
Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:44 pm

Rubio could sign with the Wolves next season?

Posted by Royce Young

Via The Pioneer Press, there's a chance Ricky Rubio could finally join the Minnesota Timverwolves. A chance. Better than where things have stood before though. 

"A little birdie says the Minnesota Timberwolves have received word from Rubio's family that he's open to signing with them for next season -- if there is a season," the report says.

I really don't know what else to add to that. It's probably unlikely that he does sign with the Wolves. Of course he's "open" to it. Heck, I'm open to signing with the Wolves next year.

But this is at least some sign of encouragment on the Rubio front for the Wolves. Lately it was really looking like Rubio had no interest in coming over any time soon. So the fact he might at least be open to it is progress. 

The lockout situation is the biggest hangup to everything because of course Rubio has no reason to come over if there's no basketball. He'll just stay right where he's at and keep making money and playing.

It's best for Rubio to certainly take his time in figuring out what he wants to do. The Wolves spent their No. 5 overall pick on him in 2009, so they want him. David Kahn has always been adament about wanting him. But it might just take a little more time. 

There was talk of Rubio not ever wanting to play with Minnesota, so again, if this report is true, Wolves fans (and Kahn) have to be encouraged. Rubio was a pretty big risk to take and not many expected him to balk at coming over. Then again, not many expected Kahn to spend his next pick on another point guard either.

Rubio has always held the cards in this situation and it's up to him when he's ready. He's just 20 years old though. He has a long basketball career ahead of him still and he's in no rush to make a rash decision. Obviously.

Posted on: March 15, 2011 4:01 pm

Ricky Rubio is in no hurry to make NBA debut

Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio sounds like he's willing to wait to make his NBA debut. Posted by Ben Golliver. ricky-rubio

The future of Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, remains unknown, but as each year passes it seems the two opposing camps harden. In Minnesota and among Timberwolves executives, Rubio is a lock to come to the NBA and become the savior for one of the league's least successful franchises. Everywhere else, it seems, the prevailing opinion is that Rubio's immediate future and playing career will continue in Spain, where he currently headlines for powerhouse FC Barcelona. 

The latest indication that Rubio is willing to keep the Timberwolves waiting came in an interview with Spanish publication Marca, which was translated by HoopsHype. Here are some of Rubio's comments.
Ricky Rubio: "I do have interest in the NBA, but not as in right away" 
Rubio: "I signed a six-year contract with a buyout option after the second season. If I leave this year I would have to pay an amount of money and that's it. It's a unilateral decision that I have to make, although if I had to leave at any time, I would talk to the club and the NBA franchise, which is currently Minnesota."    Rubio: "Going to the NBA is a dream; every good Spanish player wants to follow Gasol's steps because he's a role model." Rubio also said the lockout will be an important issue when making a decision.
Rubio's statements come about a month and a half after a New York Times report detailed his struggles on the court this season and hinted at his hesitancy to come to the NBA, and specifically the Timberwolves.
“The bottom line is, why would he want to play in Minnesota?” a senior member of Rubio’s camp said this month. “He’ll continue to say all the diplomatic things, and Minnesota needs to keep his value up for trade purposes, but the family’s preference is to be on the East Coast, specifically New York, Miami or Boston. He wouldn’t be troubled if he has to stay another year.”
Back in October, there was further talk that Rubio's family wasn't crazy about the Timberwolves.

The potential for a lockout next season, as Rubio acknowledges, is a huge factor here. Coming to the NBA would already be a gamble from an on-court and financial perspective for Rubio, who is established as a legit international superstar. Rubio has a lot to lose with any possible move and, if he does decide to come to the NBA, you can bet it will happen in as risk-free manner as possible. The timing will be right financially, he'll find the right team in the right market to help maximize his endorsement opportunities and there will be a cast of teammates in place that will ensure a smooth transition. Why would he settle on any of those factors?

Unfortunately, Rubio has so much more to offer Minnesota than Minnesota has to offer Rubio, especially in this era of financial unknown. At just 20 years old, with so much at stake, he'd be foolish to rush into anything life-changing.
Posted on: March 4, 2011 11:33 am
Edited on: March 4, 2011 11:46 am

Pau Gasol has already picked out a Euro team

Pau Gasol says his first option would be familiar FC Barcelona.
Posted by Matt Moore

There's a flood of confirmations coming from players that in the event of a lockout (which is a near-certainty at this point) that they'll be playing overseas, but none have singled out a team. Pau Gasol's the first in that event and it's no shocker. Gasol told Spanish radio that were he to head overseas, he'd be looking to go somewhere familiar. 
 "It's an option, no doubt... If it happens, you're going to play to another place, and if I have to play in Europe my first option would be Barcelona, of course," Gasol said.

Gasol's referring to FC Barcelona, which he played for when he was a youngster from 1999-2001. His brother Marc played there, as well as his close friend Juan Carlos Navarro, who still plays there, and his Spanish national teammate Ricky Rubio. He's familiar with all the players, is a god among men in Spain, a national hero, and would get to play with close friends. So it's pretty much like LeBron going to Miami in a lot of ways. This is pretty much a no-brainer, and something he might even genuinely enjoy. Marc Gasol's also expressed interest in going overseas, and you'd have to think he'd also look to join Barcelona.  The result would be a seismic shift in Europe as Barcelona would be as strong as it's ever been, essentially having the national team in place. They'd also be one of the most fun teams to watch online when you're desperate for basketball next year. 

(HT: Sport.es via Hoopsyhpe)
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