Ricky Rubio announced on Friday morning that he has indeed signed a contract to join the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2011-12 season. Rubio announced the decision, which had been reported back in early June but not confirmed publicly by either side, days after his Barcelona squad won the Spanish league championship.
Under the NBA's current collective bargaining agreement, the Wolves had until May 31 to sign Rubio, the team's 2009 first-round draft pick, to a contract under that old CBA. Had they failed to reach an agreement, they could not have signed Rubio until a new CBA is adopted. That could be quite a while, if the worst fears about a labor stoppage are realized.
Rubio was the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Instead of joining the Wolves straightaway, he signed a contract to play with Barcelona, with a buy-out option after two seasons. Friday's announcement would indicate that a buy-out has been reached or is not seen as a problem. Rubio struggled in Spain the last two seasons, but is still considered by many to be a top point guard prospect.