SB Nation Minnesota
Stay connected for news and updates Follow @sbnminnesota
Like us to subscribe
On Tuesday, Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio finally had his introductory press conference as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rubio’s arrival to Minnesota has been much discussed and long awaited, and the scrutiny and interest in the former 2009 first round draft pick will only escalate from here.
Following the presser, Rubio spent a few minutes talking with Dan Barreiro of KFAN in Minneapolis (interview begins at 30:30 mark) to talk about his experience playing against the United States in the Olympics, what he feels he needs to work on in order to have success against much tougher NBA competition, how he plans to go about making those improvements to his game, not being bothered by the Timberwolves head coach situation, not being one who thinks much about the size of the market he’s playing in, and why he thinks the Wolves are in a great position to make substantial improvements in upcoming seasons.
If he thinks he needs to improve his ability to shoot and score:
“Yeah I have to improve that. That’s why I like Steve Nash because he can control everything. He can control the way to score, the way to pass, and I would like to be close like him some day. I have to improve and one of the things is scoring and I’m going to try hard next year.”
If he is willing to improve his game and add to that:
“Yeah I’m prepared about that. I’ve improved as a player the last three years in Barcelona and when I was in Juventus too and I’m going to improve here too. I’m here to practice every day and be ready to help the team.”
How much tougher he thinks the NBA will be compared to playing overseas:
“Yeah. I think I’m prepared. I have to improve but the two games I played against the U.S. I felt comfortable playing against them because physically we can run the court too.”
Whether or not he would rather be playing in a bigger market:
“No I think the Timberwolves are the right team because they are young, they are going up, and they can make mistakes, but everybody is on the same page in here to build a good team, to grow as a team, and I can help them do that. I feel so comfortable since I came here, they showed me how they won, and I’m so happy with that.”
Ricky Rubio is coming to America. It's long been speculated, and reports even came out last week that he'd signed a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but now the Spanish point guard has also announced his intentions to come to the NBA.
Rubio held a press conference in Barcelona on Friday where he discussed a variety of topics including the NBA lockout, the reason he's finally decided to go to the NBA and even the fact that he'd been avoided Minnesota since being selected with the Wolves first round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
"As I've said, I'm going to the NBA," Rubio told the assembled media, in Spanish, to open the press conference. "I've taken this decision, it's always been a dream, and now it's about to come true. Minnesota has shown they believe in me -- they did from the very moment when they picked me in the draft."
Minnesota has definitely shown that they believe in Rubio -- president of basketball operations David Kahn practially put his job on the line -- and Rubio skirted the reasoning for why he didn't believe in the Timberwolves.
"What most motivates me is to play with the best and the NBA is the best league in the world. There you come up against the very best and find out if you're really up to it," Rubio said. "For whatever reasons, I just didn't go two years ago, but now I can so I'd like to give my thanks to them because they've shown a lot. They've shown that they really want me there."
Of course there will be a significant transition, but it's one Rubio finally seems he's ready for.
"I've never left Barcelona, I've never gone to live anywhere else, so it's totally a new experience," Rubio said. "Of course it's been scary, but it's also an adventure that you really want to have."
And last, but not least, Rubio even commented on the lockout as a potential positive.
"I think that if there is a lockout, eventually, however long the lockout lasts will give me more time to get myself prepared."
The press conference video, with English translations, is embedded below.
There was a bit of rumor mongering regarding Ricky Rubio on Wednesday after the Spanish point guard told reporters that "We are talking with Barcelona and we will soon see" when asked about the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it seems to have only been a miscommunication.
Rubio was apparently referring to his contract and its buyout situation, according to Chris Sheridan, as he's already signed his contract according to two of the ESPN reporter's sources.
"This is just a bump in the road for (the Timberwolves)," one source told Sheridan.
The bump, according to multiple reports, is that Rubio will have to pay a $1.4 million buyout prior to gaining the FIBA clearance that would allow him to play in the United States. The Wolves can pay $500,000 of that while it's been reported that the team has set up several local endorsements to cover the remainder of the fee.
By the way, Rubio's team won the ACB Championship, but he only played 38 minutes and attempted just four shots while dishing seven assists and turning the ball over six times in the three-game series.
Ricky Rubio has signed to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season according to KFAN's Dan Barreiro. It seems to be true, too, as Adrian Wojnarowski also confirmed it a few minutes later on his own Twitter account.
Rubio, who was drafted by the Wolves with the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, apparently signed with the Wolves by Tuesday's May 31 deadline and will now not have to worry about any new implications regarding the rookie salary scale under a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This doesn't necessarily mean Rubio will be wearing a Wolves uniform next season as David Kahn, Minnesota's president of basketball operations, could still trade the Spanish point guard in a deal prior to the NBA Draft. It does mean, though, that Kahn's job was probably saved as it would have looked pretty bad if he wasn't able to lure Rubio to Minnesota within three years of spending a top five pick on him.
Now hopefully the Cleveland Cavaliers draft Duke point guard Kyrie Irving later this month or the Wolves could have another sticky situation on their hands as both Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn are under contract for the 2011-12 season.
May 31 was the last day that Ricky Rubio, selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, could sign a deal with Minnesota under the current labor agreement. Despite the visits to Spain and everything else that the Timberwolves' front office has undertaken in the past few weeks, no word of any agreement between Rubio and the team has been made by the Timberwolves.
According to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, if the Wolves reached a contract agreement with Rubio, it would have to be submitted to the league office within 48 hours of the agreement being reached. The NBA has not said anything about receiving such an agreement, and nobody is sure whether or not they would acknowledge it if they had received it.
Zgoda also predicts that Rubio will be making his way to Minnesota "under cover of night" after his season with Spain's Regal Barcelona has been completed, due to a bunch of sponsors stepping up to provide the $1 million-plus in buyout money it will take to get Rubio out of his contract with his Spanish club.
Obviously, if we hear or see anything about Rubio coming to Minnesota, we will have it right here for you.
RIcky Rubio has a soft deadline of signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday if he doesn't want to deal with whatever might happen following the impending NBA lockout and new Collective Bargaining Agreement implications.
Rubio, the Wolves fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, needs to sign with Minnesota by the close of business on May 31 in order to enter the NBA as a rookie for the 2011-12 season and therefore be guaranteed a $9.4 million contract over the next three years under the NBA's rookie salary scale.
If Rubio doesn't sign on Tuesday, the 20-year-old Spaniard will have to wait until the NBA and its player's association hammers out a new CBA -- that might not allow him to play for as much pay -- before he can sign an NBA contract.
Canis Hoopus has an excellent breakdown of what it all means and additional scenarios, but in the end, Stop-n-Pop seems to believe that president of basketball operations David Kahn needs to finish the deal in the next 12 hours.
David Kahn is all-in on Ricky Rubio. May 31 is the likely drop-dead date for Rubio being a Timberwolf in the 2011/12 season. No excuses. We know that this is a big date. There is no sugar coating him not being signed. It will be a complete and utter failure. There are no likely scenarios where Rubio will be in Minny black should he not sign by May 31. Does David Kahn deserve to keep his job for a single second should we know with about 95% certainty that Rubio will not be here at the start of 2011/12 season? Does he deserve to keep his job for a single second with coaching questions, a terrible draft record, and no Rubio?
Hoopus breaks down all of the possible scenarios that could eventually involve Rubio coming to Minnesota in the future, and the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda even chimed in last night after Stop-n-Pop had been on the developing story for weeks, but it seems that there will be quite a few major implications if Kahn doesn't get the Rubio signing down before the end of the month.
Ricky Rubio was supposed to become the next Minnesota Timberwolves point guard sooner rather than later, but his Spanish team advancing to the second round of the ACB Playoffs could complicate that following Saturday's 84-52 victory over Unicaja Malaga.
In the game, Rubio scored three points, dished seven assists and grabbed four rebounds while playing 19 minutes off the bench, but that's not really the topic of discussion with this story.
Rubio, property of the Wolves via the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, had what seemed to be a deadline to sign with Minnesotat by the end of May according to Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn (as told to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda here), but that seems like a less likely option considering the team will now advance further into the Spanish league's playoffs.
As SB Nation's Timberwolves blog Canis Hoopus pointed out on Saturday, the ACB's semifinal is scheduled to run into June, meaning that Rubio would also still be under contract in Spain past the May 31 deadline. With that, there's a distinct possibility -- though it's currently unknown for all intents and purposes considering the Wolves contract would be for next season -- that would make it illegal to sign with Minnesota considering FIBA guidelines entail players can't be under contract with multiple teams at the same time.
As Canis Hoopus points out, this puts the Wolves -- and therefore Kahn -- in a bit of a pickle:
The likelihood of David Kahn lasting the calendar year with Rubio still Wolves property but still in Europe are somewhere in the 0.1-5% range. Again, Kahn has 10 days to either having his Rubio bluff be wrong, him being wildly incorrect about a CBA-related provision (which would probably be the most embarrassing outcome of all, considering this sort of expertise was probably his strongest credential for the job), Rubio signing; or, what I think is increasingly likely, that Rubio is traded in the next 10 days for someone who will be in a Wolves uni come hell or high water at the start of the 11/12 season.
Either the May 31 date originally given by Kahn doesn't actually matter, the current CBA is unclear or the Wolves are coming dangerously close to missing out on Rubio following Saturday's playoff victory.
Pro Basketball Talk is reporting that Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, who the Timberwolves drafted with the fifth overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, is expressing doubts about whether now is the right time to come to the NBA. Or his agent is, in any case.
Rubio has two agents, one in America and one in Spain. His American agent is apparently telling him that now is the time to head to the United States. His Spanish agent, whose name is German Gonzalez, disagrees.
So, the Spanish guy named German disagrees with the American. Everyone still following?
There are a few reasons why Rubio's hesitation makes sense. For starters, Rubio has never really seemed to warm to the idea of playing basketball in the Great White North, a fact that can't be helped by the fact that the Timberwolves are the NBA's worst team. Second of all, the NBA could potentially have some labor issues very soon as their CBA is expiring. Third, as the PBT article points out, if Rubio stays away from the NBA for another year, he would no longer be subject to the rookie wage scale. . .as it stands right now, he would have to take what amounts to around a 50 percent pay cut to leave FC Barcelona, and would then be locked into his rookie contract for between three and five years.
So, if you're one of the many fans that is holding out hope that Ricky Rubio will be leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to the promised land starting in 2011-12, you may wish to temper your enthusiasm accordingly.
Ricky Rubio news hasn't come very often as of late, but that could all change soon as the Minnesota Timberwolves higher-ups including general manager David Kahn, assistant general manager Tony Ronzone and international scout Pete Philo are all traveling to Spain to do some scouting next week and possibly meeting up with their top pick of the 2009 NBA Draft.
It seems that the main reason the Wolves contingent is heading to Spain is to visit draft prospects Nemanja Bjelica, Paolao Prestes and Henk Norel according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda, but meeting up with Rubio as he finishes up the Spanish League season seems to be quite high on their list of priorities.
Interestingly enough, the Wolves seem to have more hope than most think as the common thought process seems to indicate that Rubio would prefer to sign in the NBA before the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement changes things too much relating to rookie contracts.
Another reason that Rubio might want to come over now is due to the fact that his agents have now had time to secure enough money in American sponsorships to negate the buyout from his current team as Zgoda adeptly explained in Thursday's column:
His agents have been working here in the U.S. on endorsement deals that will pay the contract buyout -- and probably then some -- with his Spanish team that was negotiated to be a reasonable sum when he signed with Regal Barcelona in September 2009 after Kahn had tirelessly worked out a much, much bigger buyout deal with Rubio's DKV Joventut team.
By NBA rules, the Wolves can contribute only $500,000 to such a buyout.
If money's an issue in Rubio's decision, it probably will influence him to take a guaranteed NBA wage scale rather than wait and see the outcome of what could be long, nasty labor negotiations.
Either way, this situation is definitely worth watching with the NBA Draft coming up and point guard Kyrie Irving currently slated to be the top pick.
Ricky Rubio, the fifth overall pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft, is averaging 6.1 points, 3.7 assists and 1.8 turnovers for the Regal FC Barcelona while playing over 21 minutes per game in his team's Euroleague competitions this season.
Those numbers aren't overly impressive, obviously, but there's recent rumblings -- via Charley Waters of the Pioneer Press -- that Rubio might be interested in coming to Minnesota next year! It's probably still a long shot, but any optimistic news about the Minnesota Timberwolves is worth getting out there.
A little birdie says the Minnesota Timberwolves have received word from Ricky Rubio's family that he's open to signing with them for next season - if there is a season.
The NBA's labor agreement expires June 30, and that's an issue for Rubio, the Wolves' 2009 first-round draft pick who could continue playing for FC Barcelona in Spain if there is an NBA lockout.
I hate that Waters is sourcing "a little birdie," but like I said earlier, any optimism is good optimism ... even if it comes from little birdies.