Ricky Rubio Likely to Stay in Spain
The report was shot down by U.S. journalists almost as quickly as it was translated, but after one final weekend of failed negotiations by Timberwolves GM David Kahn, several published reports (on both sides of the ocean this time) have finally confirmed that the original report has in fact come true: Barcelona has acquired Rubio's rights, and Rubio will stay in Europe until 2011 at the earliest.
Although several days premature, last week's report looks startlingly accurate in hindsight, all the way down to the nitty-gritty details. Barcelona will pay DKV Joventut, Rubio's original team, slightly more than five million dollars ($5.28 million, according to ESPN's Ric Bucher) -- or more than ten times what NBA rules allowed the Timberwolves to contribute. And even though Rubio has agreed to a six-year deal, his new contract includes an affordable buyout after two years. Assuming all goes according to the new plan, Rubio could make his long-awaited NBA debut as a 21-year-old in 2011.
Even though Rubio and Jonny Flynn (drafted by the Timberwolves with the fifth and sixth overall picks, respectively) won't be sharing the court anytime soon, the two point guards will forever be linked. If Flynn establishes himself as a franchise cornerstone over the next two years, it seems likely that Rubio could be traded. But if Rubio develops into the once-in-a-generation superstar that many have predicted of him, it's Flynn who could be shipped out.
Either way, the Timberwolves have ample time to figure out how to best manage their assets as opposed to trying to juggle the development of both players this year. It may not be the outcome that impatient fans in Minnesota were hoping for, but in the long run, Monday's news is probably for the best.