The following statements are from Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn and Ricky Rubio regarding Rubio’s decision to continue playing professionally in Spain.
David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations:
“On Saturday night, an agreement was reached between Dan Fegan, the agent for Ricky Rubio, Jordi Villacampa, the president of Joventut Badalona, and myself on behalf of the Minnesota Timberwolves to buy out the last two years of Ricky’s contract with Joventut so that he could play in the NBA next season.
While the term sheet was being finalized Monday night, Ricky informed me that, despite considering us his first option the previous weekend - and, admittedly, after some back and forth throughout the summer - he preferred to stay at home to play for FC Barcelona, which earlier this summer had made a buyout offer to Joventut. He also reaffirmed that it was his intention to join us in Minnesota two years from now when he will be 20.
This morning I met with Ricky and his parents and told them that I understood Ricky’s decision. It was clear to me yesterday and in this morning’s meeting that the pressure surrounding Ricky and his family to remain in Spain for at least two more years had only intensified as the summer wore on and was weighing heavily on them.
The NBA is the best basketball league in the world, by far. As an 18-year-old man, Ricky would have been challenged on a nightly basis to a degree he has never experienced. In order for Ricky to meet this challenge fully, I believe it is important that his family and other people important to him were comfortable with the move to the NBA and fully supportive.
I also agreed with Ricky’s position that two more years of competition in Spain and the Euroleague will only aid his development and that he will be much more ready for the NBA when he joins us.
On the night of the draft, I explained that the decision to draft Ricky was not difficult - that he was 18, the youngest player in the draft, and we were a building team that could wait for him. Nothing has changed. When we received signals from Ricky this summer that he was considering accelerating his path to the NBA and joining us sooner, we threw ourselves into this process willingly and energetically, including meeting with Joventut on four separate occasions.
I explained to Ricky this morning that, starting today, I would now focus all my attention on the coming season for the Timberwolves and our current roster. We have begun the process to build a championship-contending team and this coming season will be an exciting one. I wished Ricky well and told him that, while I could not predict the future, I expected to see him in Minnesota soon.
I want to thank everybody who worked so hard on this process this summer, including Jonathan Blue and Dan Fegan of BEST and everybody associated with the Timberwolves family.”
Ricky Rubio Speaks
Ricky Rubio said the following: “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.”
InsideHoops Editor Weighs In
This isn’t necessarily bad for the Wolves in the long run. Had Rubio come, he and Jonny Flynn would likely have competed with each other for minutes. Now, they’ll each continue to develop with a bit less obstruction. Though, this makes it harder for the rebuilding process to succeed since the team won’t be able to judge how Rubio fits in with star Al Jefferson and their other potentially key young guy, Kevin Love.
I still think that had Rubio come to the NBA this year the Wolves would have wound up trading him or Flynn in the not-so-distant future. In fact, I’ve heard unconfirmed rumblings that was the plan all along.
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