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Mark Cuban has an eye on Ricky Rubio

Mar 9, 2011, 4:55 PM EDT

Spain v USA Getty Images

Ricky Rubio’s NBA relevance has gone from YouTube sensation to fanboy whimsy to actual draft pick to mythical figure, all with only one real constant: for all of the hype and criticism alike, Rubio has yet to play a single NBA game. It’s incredibly unclear when that might change, and if Rubio’s situation wasn’t tenuous enough on its own, a potential lockout definitely adds another variable to the mix. We could still be years away from Rubio’s NBA debut — if he decides to play in the States at all — and whether he’ll start his American career with the Timberwolves or some other team is a mystery.

That said, there’s at least one prominent owner with an eye on Rubio. Mark Cuban frequently describes his managerial style as “opportunistic,” and should Minnesota decide to trade either a signed Rubio or merely his rights, it sounds like you can count Cuban among the interested parties. From Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas:

“We’re very high on him,” Cuban said told the [St. Paul Pioneer Press.] “If they want to give him up, we’re very interested. We would do that in a heartbeat.”

The Mavs are going to need a starting point in two seasons. Jason Kidd’s contract expires after the 2011-12 season (assuming there is a season). Beaubois has been tapped the point guard of the future, but there’s plenty of uncertainty if he the lightning-quick slasher will ever be able to assume that mantle. Dallas was interested at the trade deadline of re-acquiring Devin Harris with designs of flipping him at some point for Deron Williams, but the New Jersey Nets took care of that. The Wolves want Rubio to play for them, but if not…

“I don’t think if he came in [to the NBA] now he would dominate the league or anything like that,” Cuban said. “But, I think he would have a big impact here.”

As Caplan notes in his post, there’s no tampering here. Although the Timberwolves own Rubio’s draft rights, he’s not actually a member of the team and thus fair game for discussion among NBA parties.

There’s no use going deep into the idea of Rubio as a potential Maverick, but he and Beaubois could form a pretty interesting backcourt pairing. If Dallas can’t reload on the fly with an established commodity following Dirk Nowitzki’s inevitable decline, Cuban will blow the core up and start from scratch. Rubio and Beaubois would be a solid foundation — or at least a nice pair of assets — to begin a rebuild.

  1. denverhoopdreams - Mar 9, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    I’m so sick of hearing about Rubio… I doubt he’ll ever play in the NBA.

  2. cbt22 - Mar 9, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    David Khan has confirmed that he will come and play here, and Rubio and his family are saying their excited to come here same as his manager, it stupid reporters from new york and big markets spreading stupid rumors of him not wanting to come here

  3. purdueman - Mar 9, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Out here in Southern California, Rubio’s is a cheap pizza place that specializes in wallpaper paste flavored pizza’s (LOL!). I think that Rubio though has about as much interest in playing in Minneapolis as he does in playing basketball outdoors on the North Pole (brrr-rrrrr!!!). ** It may all be a mute point though, because David Stern wants to contract 6-8 teams (will be lucky to get four though due to legal entanglements with arena contracts and such), as part of the next NBACBA. New Orleans, Memphis, Indiana and Minnesota are said to all be at the very, very top of Stern’s desired contraction list candidates.

  4. zackd2 - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Cant wait for that <40 FG%

    • purdueman - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:13 PM

      That would mean that Rubio is NBA ready! The art of shooting worth a damn without dunking is a lost art these days for most NBA players you know! Still, if Rubio joins the T-Wolves, they’d have another building block to go along with Kevin Love and Michael “I don’t play no defense” Beasley, but as we’ve all seen, you need at least two solid “core” starters to make a go of it in the NBA to even be remotely competitive these days.

  5. whatagreatfootballmind - Mar 9, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    Minnesota is at the top of Stern’s contraction list? The same guy who stopped the sale of the Timberwolves to New Orleans years ago? Doh’Kay. Minnesota has good attendance, when they put a decent team on the court. Not the garbage the last handful of years. When Garnett was here, it was tough ticket to get.

    We might actually get a decent team going here. Everybody can rip on Kahn all they want, but I will give him credit for getting arid of bad contracts like Marko Jaric and Mike Miller. We have the youngest team in the NBA and own a top 3 pick this year along with 2 other #1’s this year. Hopefully he can package the 2 later picks (maybe a lottery pick if Utah keeps losing) for a pick next year since we own the Clippers that pick (thanks McHale). If we can get Rubio here with Love, Beasley, another top 3 pick, and either trade for a decent player or sign a free agent to a max deal, who knows what happens. At least Kahn is getting better talent here.

    • purdueman - Mar 9, 2011 at 11:20 PM

      The “short list” for contraction isn’t according to me; it’s according to “the logo”, Jerry West, who spoke out on this very subject within the past two weeks. Stern’s all about the TV money; Minneapolis is simply too small of a TV market for him to be bothered with. By the way, don’t hang your title hopes on Michael Beasley; he couldn’t guard me and I’m a white guy who can’t jump over 50.

      • lebronsinsecurity - Mar 9, 2011 at 11:39 PM

        Huh?? Minneapolis is 15th for markets.. No it’s not LA, New York, or Chicago.. But Denver, Portland, Charlotte, Sacramento, Cleavland, San Antonio, Orlando, and the list just keeps going in terms of size of market and NBA teams.. It has nothing to with size of markets, it’s about TEAM.. Ask the Spurs if they care what size of market they are’s 31st and that doesn’t seem to stop them..

      • purdueman - Mar 9, 2011 at 11:58 PM

        Bottom line? Stern only cares about the LA, Chicago, Miami, Boston and New York TV markets. Every other market to him is merely an irritant. Sacramento by the way is going bye-bye… to the LA market. Surprised? I’m not!

    • purdueman - Mar 9, 2011 at 11:31 PM

      Two problems with your (unfounded), optimism: 1) The upcoming draft is said to be the weakest in over a decade, without even one single “franchise” player in it (why do you think that the Clippers dumped their first round pick?); and 2) What free agent is going to be attracted to Minneapolis? I’ve spent a lot of time in Minneapolis and it IS a great city, but it’s also colder than the north pole in the winter time, isn’t the big media center the big ego free agents yearn for, and doesn’t exactly have a strong Black Cultural base (you betcha on that one!). Bottom line? I respect your optimism, but I think that you have a better chance at winning the lotto than you do seeing the T-Wolves win a championship anytime in the next decade or so.

      • jstrizzle - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:04 AM

        Weather? Black Culture? Media Center? You are forgetting the most important thing to every player. Money! If the T’Wolves have cap room and other teams don’t and a player wants to leave his current franchise he will go where he can get paid. With that said I think the team has some bright spots and whether they develop into something remains to be seen.

      • purdueman - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:27 AM

        Wishful thinking (can’t hardly blame you for that), but no high profile free agent is going to Minnesota anytime soon. Under the current (and likely continuing), CBA rules, there will plenty of teams out there with “max contracts” to offer that are more attractive than Minneapolis is to go to.

      • jstrizzle - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:35 AM

        Wishful Thinking? What do you expect. I am commenting on a T’wolves post and they have 16 wins. It is borderline insanity. They need to progress to an almost playoff or low seeded playoff team in the next 2 years and hope to draw in a medium profile FA or cross their fingers for someone slightly higher to help push them over. They would most likely have to overpay for said player as well.

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