The last few weeks have seen rampant speculation regarding his future, but now, it appears the Ricky Rubio sweepstakes have come to an end, and David Kahn and the Minnesota Timberwolves have come up as losers. Kahn had spent recent weeks traveling to Spain in hopes of negotiating a buyout with Rubio's former team, DK Jovenut, but according to Yahoo! Sports, the Spanish club agreed to terms with another Spanish team, instead.
Rubio – the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA draft – has agreed to a six-year contract with Regal FC Barcelona that doesn’t allow for an escape to the NBA until 2011. [...] Rubio, 18, apparently won’t play for the T’wolves until the 2011-12 season, and that’s devastating for the franchise’s new regime, which hoped to tout Rubio as one of its fresh-faced stars. Minnesota was able to legally pay only $500,000 toward the buyout, and the relative constraints of the Twin Cities’ market made the accumulation of endorsement deals difficult to close the gap on the buyout figure. Rubio would’ve made nearly $3.3 million in the NBA this season as the fifth pick in the draft.
The "relative constraints of the Twin Cities' market" are part of why the Timberwolves wanted Rubio, of course. Adding a player of his profile would have made them an instant national attraction--unfortunately, it appears it took more money to add him than the T'Wolves could muster. Now, they'll have to wait until 2011, instead.
Or longer, says Tom Ziller at AOL Fanhouse:
It's July 1, 2011. The Timberwolves have added only a second-round pick in the June draft [...] But the real focus is on Rubio, a gifted passer who has blossomed into an uncanny playmaker while developing in Barcelona.
There's just one problem: the league's owners have locked out the players. The union and ownership couldn't hash out a new collective bargaining agreement over the previous two summers, and the 2011-12 season is in jeopardy. The Wolves are not allowed to ink Rubio to his rookie deal, because there's no guarantee he'll have a team to play for if he ditches Barcelona.
With all the uncertainty swirling around the NBA, Rubio declines his Barcelona buyout option before the August deadline, and stays in Spain another year. Or longer. This, surely, wasn't what David Kahn had in mind.
Indeed, there's no guarantee that the Timberwolves will broker a deal in 2011. The NBA currently features numerous owners that are in dire financial straits, and it's unlikely the calamitous economic climate will improve enough over the next two years to allay the ownership's concerns about the current revenue model. Discarding the lofty financial-speak: we're headed for an impasse, and among a litany of implications for the longterm, that means Minnesota may have to wait even longer than expected to experience the majesty that is Ricky Rubio. Que mal?!
At least Minnesota fans can stay up to date on their other star rookie point guard, Johnny Flynn. Because he decided to "join the conversation" on Twitter! Yay.