Minneapolis, MN, United States (AHN) – Picked fifth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, phenom floor general Ricky Rubio has yet to play in the NBA thanks to a pricey and complicated buyout clause.
Recently, Rubio expressed his desire to play in 2011-12, but wants the Wolves to make some serious improvements to the squad that finished with a dismal 15-67 record last season.
The buyout clause was originally valued between $6.6 million to $8.2 million with a Spanish club. The league’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits a team from paying more than $500,000 toward a player’s contract buyout.
Spanish team Barça bought out Rubio’s contract for €3.5 million ($5.0 million), then put a clause in his six-year deal with the club that would allow a more manageable buyout of $1.4 million (Timberwolves pay $500,000).
Rubio met with Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis last week, and walked away feeling “he can envision playing for Kurt,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
However, the 19-year old phenom may want to be traded if Minnesota continues its horrid play.
The Wolves have not made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season, posting a 170-328 (.341) record since then.
One thing the Wolves have been good at is acquiring draft picks.
Last year, they had four picks in the first round, including the fifth (Rubio) and the sixth, with which they picked up promising young talent in Jonny Flynn, also a point guard.
This year, Minnesota finagled three first-round picks – the fourth overall, No. 16 (from Charlotte via Denver) and No. 23 (from Utah via Philadelphia).
The Wolves may opt to trade one or more of those picks on draft day, just like they did in 2009.
Rubio would be a sweet edition as trade bait to help the Wolves pick up some outside support for big men Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.