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The Rubio Dilemma deepens for Wolves

Jan 23, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

Spain v USA Getty Images

Ricky Rubio is supposed to be the savior. That’s the plan. He’s the piece that will come in and make all the misfit toys shine like new. And to be honest, even with the Timberwolves sucking for another year, the idea of Rubio being added to Micheal Beasley and Kevin Love with Wes Johnson thrown in is pretty exciting. That’s a core you can see winning. Or at least, the 18 year old Rubio who was drafted. Because, as the New York Times points out, Rubio’s kind of slipped. Hard.

Rubio didn’t look great in FIBA play this summer, and that’s carried over to his Euroleague play this year. He’s shooting 32%. The kid’s never been known for a great jumper, but that’s a big step backwards. That has to put a damper on the Wolves to some degree in their hopes of him being the savior. But more alarming is the following passage from The Times:

“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.”

But the Timberwolves have leverage. They hold his exclusive draft rights, meaning they are the only N.B.A. team with whom he can negotiate. Their latest strategy in trying to persuade Rubio to sign may center on the possible N.B.A. lockout of players after the collective bargaining agreement expires June 30. The terms of the new agreement will probably be significantly less favorable for rookies.

via Ricky Rubio, No. 5 N.B.A. Pick, Struggles in Europe –

Minnesota fans will be quick to point out this is a New York paper, and all New York media has been spinning the story that Rubio wants to come to New York from the beginning, that there’s been no word from Rubio publicly that that’s what he wants. There’s just been word from just about every source around him that that’s what he wants.

So the problem now isn’t just one of whether or not he’ll be willing to sign and commit to the Wolves, which he has at least never indicated he wants to do (whether he’s indicated he doesn’t want to or not), but that he’s not looking like they dynamite point guard he did two years ago. He’s being billed as the savior, but in reality, he may just be a very good point guard. And if that’s the case, he’s still a building block for the Wolves, but no the answer.

One other problem not mentioned in this article? Rollbacks.

Should the CBA greatly restrict cap space and revamp salaries as it’s expected to, there’s a strong contingent that believes there will be salary rollbacks. Which means that Rubio could sign under the current rookie structure, and still have his deal revamped into the new system. There’s no guarantee of more money in the event he decides to come over and sign now.

Things are just never easy for the Timberwolves.

  1. vikesdynasty - Jan 23, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    we should just trade his draft rights to new orleans for chris paul :) he wants to leave why not come to a team he could win with? paul isnt going to new york especially with felton playing like an all star…and hes 10x cheaper…so i think the twolves should at least try and if not him move rubio for a good pg because rubio is another tool imo and doesnt need to be here

    • henryd3rd - Jan 24, 2011 at 5:42 AM

      Let’s see the temperature in Minnesota is 13 degrees. Yeah; like Chris Paul would want to play in Minnesota. Please!!!!!!!!!! Paul will be a free agent soon I am sure there a a couple of warm weather destinations that would be far more preferable the that cold place.

  2. jstrizzle - Jan 23, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    I just hate reading all these stories about contraction and how we need to get more competitive balance. And then 2 or 3 articles later I read a story about players refusing to go to a team he was drafted for because he wants to go to a larger market team. This is what is wrong with the NBA. I think the Timberwolves should squat on his rights until he is 30 just to prove a point if that really is the case.

    • zackd2 - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:32 PM

      Yeah the T’wolves pushing away talent, that’s exactly what they should be doing.

      • jstrizzle - Jan 24, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        How are we pushing away talent? Maybe we are pushing away an asset for the team but who knows how talented he will or will not be. I am advocating playing hardball so people won’t just say no I don’t want to play there so now you wasted a draft pick on me.

  3. metalhead65 - Jan 23, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    I agree with vikesdynasty,let him play in europe if he won’t play for the wolves. maybe they would not suck or suck as bad if he played for them. tired of these overpayed prima donnas telling teams what they will or won’t do. you get paid or have the chance to get paid a ton of money be happy with that and if you are as good as you think you are make the team that drats you better.if not sit out or play overseas we do not care what you do as long you play by the rukes which says you play for the team that drafts great would it be if they waied a couple of more years then traded him to toranto or the sixers or whatever other team he does not like.

  4. willeyb296 - Jan 24, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    IF you were a PG in the NBA why would you NOT want to play with Love and Beasley? I would think those two would make a mediocore PG look pretty damn good.

    • jstrizzle - Jan 24, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      I think the proof to your argument is in fact Luke Ridnour who has looked pretty decent at times.

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