By: David Kay
Timberwolves general manager David Kahn didn’t just throw Ricky Rubio under the bus. He slammed his head in the bus door a few times, drove over Rubio, shifted to reverse, ran him over again, leaned out the window to spit on him, then floored the bus over him again. This continually developing story should be as interesting to follow as the Brett Favre/Packers circus of the summer of 2008.
12 hours after it was reported that the fifth overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft would be staying in Spain, Kahn came out and tried to save face in hopes of limiting the amount of backlash he would receive for not getting Rubio in a T-Wolves jersey this up-coming season. Kahn released a statement Monday morning stating that a buy out was reached between Rubio and his Spanish team DKV Joventut, that would allow the 18-year old to come to the NBA. Instead, Rubio backed out of the deal, deciding that he would be better served staying home and playing two years for FC Barcelona. In other words, Kahn is saying, “I did all I could to get this kid in a T-Wolves jersey this season, but this punk doesn’t want to play for us.”
Rubio also released a brief statement: “The reason leading me to take this next step is to have a period of preparation to better take the challenge of the NBA in better conditions as a player. The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be my first option and I wish to play with them in the near future.”
I’m not buying that for a minute Ricky. If it were the Knicks or Clippers that drafted you and had worked out a reasonable buy out from your Spanish team, you would be playing in the NBA this season. But since you ended up in a less-than-desirable market by your standards, you suddenly felt you needed more time to season your game overseas.
At no time during the draft process was there any talk of Rubio not being “NBA-ready.” He had been playing in one of the toughest European leagues since he was 14-years old and flashed signs of his ability against the world’s best in the 2008 Summer Olympics. There were questions about his transitioning to the more physical NBA game, but how is spending two more years in Spain going to better prepare you for the physicality of the Association?
I’m starting to think Rubio will never play for the Timberwolves. Kahn keeps saying he is willing to wait for the summer of 2011 when Rubio has the option to leave Barcelona without having to pay any buy out. Rubio claims he is still committed to play for Minnesota. But if that is indeed still his “first option” then why wait? It just doesn’t make any sense.
Barring a miraculous turnaround in Minnesota, I don’t see this ending well for Kahn and company. The possibility of dealing Rubio’s rights for some pieces to help their re-building may be the best option at this point and save us all from the soap opera that will assuredly continue during the next two years. Otherwise, we will be forced to suffer through the same situation in two years with Rubio reluctant to call the Twin Cities “home.”
Kahn wrote in his statement, “I wished Ricky well and told him that, while I could not predict the future, I expected to see him in Minnesota soon.” Don’t hold your breath Mr. Kahn. Just keep driving the bus.
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