Ricky Rubio will join the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2011-12 season, according to reports. Not only does that affect Minnesota's draft strategy, but it puts incumbent young point guard Jonny Flynn at the center of trade rumors.
The Wolves took Rubio at No. 5 and Flynn at No. 6 in the 2009 NBA Draft, having picked up that fifth pick in a trade with the Washington Wizards. Rubio stayed in Spain for two years, opting for comfort in Barcelona as he grew. Flynn drew the short stick, and has struggled mightily under Kurt Rambis in Minnesota.
Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune thinks Flynn will be gone soon with Rubio's pending arrival.
You can bet [Flynn] will be traded by draft night to make room exclusively for Rubio. Possible trading partners: Toronto, Detroit, Sacramento, Phoenix.
Rubio would then share point guard duties with veteran Luke Ridnour, who struggled with injuries last year after signing with Minnesota as a free agent. The problem, of course, is that the Wolves have already sucked out all the value Flynn once had. (With Flynn obviously on the block, that's pronounced even more.) Flynn was among the worst shooters in the NBA last season, posted -1.3 Win Shares per Basketball Reference and has a career 1.55 assist-to-turnover ratio.
But he's still just 22, and played for the most dysfunctional franchise in the NBA, under possibly one of its worst coaches with an awful supporting cast. Can Minnesota land a late first-round pick for Flynn? A player of any repute? We'll see. The best plan to save face might be to work out a deal with one of the teams mentioned by Zgoda for a conditional first-round pick protected for the lottery for 2-3 years, which then reverts to a second-round pick if not consummated. A Juan Carlos Navarro.