Ricky Rubio doesn’t want to play for the T-Wolves?

Barring some sort of language barrier or misquote, “a senior member of Rubio’s camp” seems to have confirmed to the New York Times what we all pretty much knew — Ricky Rubio does not want to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves continue to push him toward the N.B.A. as soon as possible, contending privately that they have a commitment from him for next season. But Rubio’s camp does not appear to be convinced.

“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.

New York, Miami or Boston…hmmm. Well, Boston is probably out because Rajon Rondo is already there, and he’s one of the best point guards in the NBA. It’s not like Rubio’s recent play has been so awe-inspiring that the C’s would give up on a bird in the hand like Rondo. Some are even wondering if Rubio’s development has stalled.

Miami would be an interesting landing spot from a how-are-they-going-to-make-this-work standpoint, but Rubio is not a good fit. LeBron and Dwyane Wade handle the ball so much that it would be a waste of Rubio’s playmaking talents. LeBron and Wade need to play with a point guard who can space the floor with good three-point shooting, and that’s not Rubio’s game. At all.

The Knicks are a possibility, and Rubio’s freewheeling, pass-first style would be fun to watch in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system, but Raymond Felton is averaging 17.5 points and 8.7 assists, and is a better scorer than Rubio at this point. Felton is only under contract for one more season, so if the Knicks see Rubio as a better point guard of the future, they have a few assets that might appeal to the Timberwolves.

The article goes on to discuss how the new CBA might not be as favorable to rookies, and that might encourage Rubio to sign before June 30. But right now it looks like he’s willing to play in Spain for another season and try to force the T-Wolves to trade his rights to an East Coast team.

It’s amazing — T-Wolves GM David Kahn took three point guards (Rubio, Jonny Flynn, Ty Lawson) in what was considered to be a great draft for that position and still doesn’t have his PG of the future. He passed on Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry to take Rubio and Flynn, and ended up trading Lawson away (for a draft pick that turned into a trade for Martell Webster). Darren Collison was also available when the T-Wolves took Lawson.

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Kahn: Rubio is coming to Minnesota

Minnesota GM David Kahn thinks that Ricky Rubio will likely come to Minnesota in a year and a half.

“We developed a very solid relationship with his representatives, and more importantly, perhaps, his family, this past summer,” he told Abbott. “It wasn’t an issue of him having any concern about Minnesota whatsoever. I think at the end of the day he just felt that him having a couple more years in Europe would be the smart and prudent thing for him to do. He had a lot of input from his Spanish National team members, who all think he can play here, but also thought that a few more years of development would help him. I don’t have any reason not to think that’s true, either.”

I don’t know if Kahn is just toeing the company line or if he truly believes that Rubio wants to play in Minnesota, but if he really didn’t think he was ready to play in the NBA, why did he put his name into the draft in the first place? Obviously, something happened on draft night (or thereafter) that convinced Rubio that he should stay in Europe. Prior to the draft, it looked like he was a sure bet to play in the NBA this season. The only thing that changed was that he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Suddenly, he’s signing a two year contract with another team in Europe.

On paper, Rubio to Minnesota is a nice fit, but when you look at the T-Wolves’ stars — Al Jefferson and Kevin Love — a wide-open offensive attack doesn’t spring to mind. However, they are tied with the Suns for third in overall pace (98.2 possessions per game) so someone is telling these guys to push the ball. I wonder if that’s designed in part to convince Rubio to come to Minnesota.


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NBA Rumors: Stoudemire, T-Mac, Brand and more draft talk

T-Mac for Amare?

According to the same source that disclosed Terry Porter was about to be fired as Suns coach, the Rockets are leaning toward swapping Tracy McGrady’s expiring $22M contract, Carl Landry and Aaron Brooks for Leandro Barbosa and Stoudemire, who owns an escape clause after next season and is demanding an extension this summer to waive it.

I’m not sure what the upside is for the Suns. Stoudemire will likely opt out of his contract after the season, so they aren’t gaining any financial flexibility. They do get a couple of good young players (Landry and Brooks), but is that really enough? McGrady is a very good player when healthy, but he can’t seem to stay upright.

This would be a bold move for the Rockets, but it would leave them awfully thin at point guard. Kyle Lowry would be the only experienced PG on the roster, but Houston could use its mid-level exception to go out and get a veteran like Andre Miller or Mike Bibby, though the MLE may not be enough.

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