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Old 06-15-2011, 02:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: It's Official - Ricky Rubio is part of the Wolf Pack

Is he changing his mind???

BILBAO, Spain -- Recent comments made by Minnesota Timberwolves draft pick Ricky Rubio have raised questions about his future, despite reports earlier this month that his NBA arrival was imminent.

"We are talking with Barcelona and we will soon see," Rubio said after Barcelona beat Bilbao for the Spanish league title Tuesday night.

Earlier this month, The Associated Press and The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reported that Rubio, the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA draft, finally had reached an agreement to join the Timberwolves after two seasons with Barcelona.

Despite Ricky Rubio's offensive struggles this season at Barcelona, he's still seen as the Timberwolves' point guard of the future.
The Timberwolves did not confirm those reports, which followed years of speculation that Rubio, 20, did not want to leave Europe or pay a multimillion-dollar buyout of his Barcelona contract out of his own pocket.

Rubio said he was "very happy" after Barcelona won the Spanish league title, according to the Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo. "This title is the most widely appreciated. At last I have it and we must all be proud of it."

Timberwolves president David Kahn called Rubio "a virtuoso and somebody special" after drafting him in 2009. Kahn and agent Dan Fegan had an agreement to bring Rubio to the NBA that summer, but Rubio withdrew from that deal at the last minute after deciding he did not want to pay a $6 million-plus buyout.

With the passing of two seasons, Rubio's buyout from Barcelona has decreased to $1.4 million. The Timberwolves can contribute up to $500,000 of that amount under current league rules.

Rubio was faced with a difficult decision this spring -- sign with the Timberwolves and lock himself into the guaranteed money of the NBA's current rookie wage scale, while risking losing games of his first NBA season to a potential lockout, or wait to see what unfolds with the league's uncertain labor situation.

Rubio averaged 6.5 points per game on 39 percent shooting this season at Barcelona, where he dealt with a foot injury and fell out of the starting lineup. The Timberwolves believe Rubio will flourish in the NBA, where guards have more freedom to create than they do in the stricter offensive schemes common in the European game.

"He's gotten bigger and he plays outstanding defense, and because he's a pass-first guard he's going to be liked by everybody who plays with him," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said last year. Krzyzewski coached Team USA against Rubio and Spain in the Beijing Olympics.

Rubio dominated the junior circuit in Europe and turned professional at 14. His flashy style and baby face made him an instant sensation in Europe.

Although Rubio's stock dropped this season, the woeful Timberwolves -- winners of a combined 32 games the past two seasons -- remain in need of a point guard to feed the ball to Kevin Love and Michael Beasley.
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