by: David Kay
The Timberwolves got their man on draft night. When they traded Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Wizards for the number five pick, Minnesota was targeting Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, even trying to move up to the number two spot to assure that they landed him. As it played out Rubio fell right into their laps at five and the T-Wolves couldn’t have been any happier. But the wedding may be annulled quicker than Britney Spears’ brief matrimony to Jason Alexander (no, not THAT Jason Alexander.) Rubio is apparently pulling an Eli Manning/Steve Francis/Eric Lindros and is cold to the idea of living in ‘Sota, reportedly threatening to head back to Spain to play for a couple more years rather than suit up for the Wolves.
So what is new Minnesota general manager David Kahn to do besides try to convince T-Wolves’ fans that he is not the second coming of Kevin McHale? Kahn recently sent an e-mail to season ticket holders saying that he was willing to wait a couple years if necessary while Rubio played out his current contract in Spain. The two parties reportedly met face-to-face over the weekend, but that has yet to be confirmed.
The way I see it, Kahn has two options. He can play hard ball, call Rubio’s bluff, and insist that they are not going to trade him, eventually hoping the flashy point guard agrees to play with the T-Wolves whether it’s this season or three years from now. Or he can coward up, give in to Rubio’s demands, and deal the Spaniard for a couple valuable pieces (or six point guards.) Here are some possible deals that would land Rubio in a desirable location while adding to the T-Wolves youth movement.
Trade One: Minnesota deals Ricky Rubio ($3.3 million) and Brian Cardinal ($6.75 million) to Dallas for Josh Howard ($10.9 million), a 2010 second round pick, and 2011 first round pick.
With Jason Kidd a free agent and getting up there in age, acquiring Rubio would give the Mavs a point guard of the future at a much cheaper rate. Minnesota lands an all-star caliber in talent in Howard who would provide a major boost on the wing. Dallas doesn’t own the rights to their 2010 first round pick which is why they give up their 2011 selection.
Trade Two: Minnesota deals Ricky Rubio ($3.3) and Brian Cardinal ($6.75) to Clippers for Eric Gordon ($2.8), Marcus Camby (7.65), and 2010 first round pick (top 4 protected)
Clipper fans would finally have something to look forward to; a possible long-term combo of Rubio to Griffin that could eventually become the Stockton-Malone of the next decade. The biggest wrench for the Clips would be moving Davis off the ball which may cause even more sulking than there already is, which seems impossible. This would instantly make the Clips a real playoff contender. Dealing Camby opens up more playing time for Griffin without weakening their frontcourt.
Minnesota gets the starting shooting guard they currently don’t have. Marcus Camby provides a defensive presence and is a free agent after this season so that would open up some more money for free agency. The 2010 first rounder would likely fall in the late lottery/mid-teen’s.
SF: Thornton/Ricky Davis
SG: Baron Davis/Collins
Trade Three: Minnesota deals Ricky Rubio ($3.3), Sebastian Telfair ($2.5), and Mark Madsen ($2.8) to New York for Chris Duhon ($6.0), Wilson Chandler ($1.2), Toney Douglas ($1.0), and 2010 first round pick (top 4 protected)
The Knicks have been the most likely destination for Rubio since word came out that he didn’t want to go to Minnesota. This would be a huge get for New York and yet another way to entice LeBron, D-Wade, or one of the top free agents next summer to come to the Big Apple to play with a pure point guard with an unbelievable ability to distribute the basketball.
Minnesota adds a veteran point guard who is a free agent next summer in Duhon, a combo guard in Douglas who plays well on both ends of the floor, and an improving Chandler. The key to this trade is the 2010 first round pick which would almost certainly be in the lottery. Jordan Hill could be another name to possibly throw in this trade but the T-Wolves would be better off improving other areas since they already have the Jefferson-Love duo up front.
SG: Hughes/Joe Crawford
Trade Four: Minnesota deals Ricky Rubio ($3.3) to Portland for Rudy Fernandez ($1.1), Jerryd Bayless ($2.1), and 2010 first round pick
The Blazers need to find a point guard of the future and Rubio would the perfect young point guard to lead one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA. Portland would still have about nine million dollar to spend in free agency and could land a veteran small forward to help them creep a little closer to the top of the Western Conference.
Minnesota would acquire a shooting guard in Fernandez would they could immediately insert into the starting line-up. They also get a young combo guard in Bayless who is far from reaching his potential and could be a great bench player if given the chance. The 2010 first round pick is not a huge addition since it would likely be in the mid-twenties.
Trade Five: Minnesota deals Ricky Rubio ($3.3) and Craig Smith ($2.5) to Miami for Michael Beasley ($4.6), Daequan Cook ($1.4), and Mario Chalmers ($0.8)
The thought of Rubio playing alongside my favorite player, Dwyane Wade, literally turns me on. While Chalmers had a solid rookie season, he does not have near the long-term potential of a player like Rubio. Acquiring Rubio might also be a great selling point as to the direction of the Heat franchise and help keep D-Wade in South Beach.
Minnesota gets three players to help their youth movement. Beasley showed flashes of being worthy of the number two pick in last year’s draft, but also struggled to find his niche at times. Chalmers would serve as a nice point guard option alongside Flynn. Cook has great range on his shot, the type of player the T-Wolves lack.