Ricky Rubio is searching for a five-year maximum extension and has rejected the Minnesota Timberwolves' best offer thus far of four years, $48 million, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News. Rubio and the Wolves have until Oct. 31 to come to an agreement on a contract extension.
As of now, a max contract for Rubio would be worth about $85 million over five years, although a change in the salary cap for next year would alter that number a bit. There's much debate over what Rubio is worth, and there are quite a few factors at play.
Why Rubio should reject the Wolves' offer
Rubio is one of the best passers in the league, averaging 8.6 assists last season and posting a top-three assist ratio. The 6'4 point guard is also a strong rebounder for his position, and he finished second in the NBA in steals per game.
While he has some serious offensive deficiencies, Rubio is still only 23 years old and has time to develop a more well-rounded game on that end. If his scoring efficiency significantly improves, a four-year, $48 million deal would be a complete steal for Minnesota, especially given the fact that the salary cap is expected to make a major jump in the next few years thanks to the enormous new television deal agreed upon Monday.
That expected cap bump will play a major factor in many, if not all, of these early extension negotiations, as players are sure to feel they're worth more. If the Wolves aren't willing to pony up for Rubio, some other team might not think twice about it next offseason because the rising cap would make a max deal more tenable.
Why Rubio should accept the Wolves' offer
Rubio has a lot of value, but at the moment, there's a cap on that value because of his inability to put the ball in the basket. He shot just 38.1 percent last season and is shooting a dreadful 36.8 percent from the field for his career. His 32.3 percent mark from three is respectable enough, but he really struggles around the rim and has no semblance of a mid-range game.
Rubio was especially bad in the fourth quarter last season, a key reason the Wolves dropped so many close games. He shot just 27.2 percent overall and 23.8 percent from three in fourth quarters last season, according to NBA.com. It's hard to justify paying a player max money with those kinds of fourth-quarter numbers.
A five-year max extension for Rubio isn't preferable for the Wolves because the CBA says a team can only have one such contract on the roster at a time. If Rubio were to receive that extension, a player like Andrew Wiggins wouldn't be eligible for one as long as Rubio was still on the team.
Considering this, that max offer may never come from Minnesota. And although the salary cap increase may give teams more money to play with, there could be some strong free-agent competition at point guard next summer, so a max offer sheet then is no guarantee.
Likelihood of Rubio and Wolves agreeing to extension
Given how far apart the two sides currently appear to be, there's about a 1/10 chance Rubio inks a five-year, max extension before the Oct. 31 deadline. There's always a chance a compromise can be reached, but if Rubio holds out for that max, he's almost certainly headed to restricted free agency next offseason. Minnesota may be more willing to match a max offer sheet then, but for now, it's tough to see them shelling out that kind of money.