Rubio speaks out about decision to stay in Spain

By now, every NBA fan worth his salt knows that Ricky Rubio has decided to play in Spain for two more seasons before coming to the NBA. Recently, he spoke out about why he chose to stay put.

“Going to Minnesota would have just complicated my life a lot. It was a risk and I didn’t see it so clearly,” Rubio said. “My priority was the NBA and it was impossible for the Minnesota Timberwolves to pay my buyout clause, so I wanted to stay home.”

“When the season ended, I entered the draft with the intention of going to the NBA,” Rubio said Wednesday. “But some things happened that kept me from being ahead of the rest and I ended up No. 5, which I was happy with, but it didn’t allow me the chance to go to the NBA. I tried, but in the end it wasn’t to be.”

“Going to Minnesota would have just complicated my life a lot.”

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that…

Some people are attacking Minnesota GM David Kahn and some are defending his decision to pick Ricky Rubio on draft day. The bottom line is that Rubio would be joining the NBA this season had he 1) gone early enough in the draft that he could afford to pay his own buyout or 2) had he been drafted into a better situation.

Does anyone honestly think he’d be staying in Barcelona for two years if the Knicks had drafted him at #8? He wouldn’t have been able to pay his own buyout, but the marketing ramifications of playing in the Big Apple (in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system) would have been to great too ignore. His camp would have found a way to make it happen.

No, Rubio is staying in Spain because he was drafted by the Timberwolves at #5. Had he gone to the Warriors at #7, the Kings at #4 or even the Thunder at #3, we might have found ourselves in a similar situation. This is neither a knock on Kahn for drafting Rubio nor a endorsement of that decision.

That verdict won’t be in for some time.

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Knicks pursuing Rubio?

It seems like an obvious match on paper. The Knicks have a well-documented need for a point guard and Ricky Rubio is threatening to play another year or two in Spain so that he can avoid playing in Minnesota, at least for the time being. Then, of course, there is the T-Wolves’ decision to draft point guards with back-to-back picks in this year’s draft. Throw in the Knicks’ reluctance to sign a point guard this summer and it all adds up — they’re pursuing Rubio.

One insider tells RealGM’s Alex Kennedy that Kahn could be working out a scenario where Rubio would be dealt to the New York Knicks.

“Kahn and [Knicks’ President] Donnie Walsh are close and New York is looking for a cheap point guard who could help attract free agents next summer. Rubio fits that mold. I think that’s what this latest trip to Spain is about, working something out with New York.”

First, let me state that this is all speculation. An “insider” told Real GM that Kahn “could be” working out a deal that would send Rubio to New York. This isn’t exactly substantial stuff.

Regardless, it’s not clear what New York would have to give up in this scenario, as they don’t have too many assets to offer. David Lee is a possibility, but the T-Wolves are pretty set up front with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Nate Robinson is a good scorer, but wouldn’t be equal value for the potential that Rubio brings to the table. Wilson Chandler is a nice (though not particularly efficient) small forward, which is the same position that LeBron James plays.

Lee would seem to be the best that the Knicks have to offer, but would the T-Wolves want to pay him $8-$10 million per season when he’d likely come off the bench? Thinking about it, Chandler plus an unprotected first round pick might do the trick.

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