SBD/Issue 195/Franchises

Ricky Rubio Reportedly Receiving Offers To Play In Turkey, Spain

Rubio Entertaining Offers To Play In
Turkey Or Spain Instead Of Minnesota
Winners Factory consultant Tim Shea, whose firm is the European agency for T'Wolves first-round draft pick G Ricky Rubio, Saturday said that Rubio is "receiving offers this weekend to play for a club in Turkey and Real Madrid, which would decrease the likelihood of him playing in the NBA next season," according to Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. Shea said that he "expects a formal offer from a Turkish club" today, and that the offer "would be about $1[M], with another $2[M] going toward a $6[M] buyout for his Spanish team, DKV Joventut." Shea added that Real Madrid also is "in talks with Joventut." Shea said that if the T'Wolves "traded Rubio to the Knicks, it could sway Rubio into playing in the NBA next season" (N.Y. POST, 6/28). Meanwhile, Knicks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh Friday said that he is calling T'Wolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn to see if Rubio "can be had after Rubio's father told a Spanish Web site that Rubio likely will stay in Spain for the next two seasons instead of paying off a buyout." Rubio did not attend the T'Wolves' introductory press conference Friday in Minneapolis, and a Knicks source said that the team "believes Rubio's preference is for the T'Wolves to trade him to the Knicks." The N.Y. POST's Berman wrote, "Having Rubio on Broadway with a major marketing deal would be ideal" (N.Y. POST, 6/27).

WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME: Rubio said of not working out or interviewing with the T'Wolves ahead of the NBA Draft, "The NBA is attractive, but if you don't want to be on a team at this time, well, you can wait. Right now, the work is that of the agent." Kahn said that he is "prepared for a 'turbulent' summer if the matter comes to that and promised to remain patient." In Minneapolis, Jerry Zgoda noted the T'Wolves "maintain Rubio's NBA rights as long as he's playing professionally elsewhere." Kahn: "If there's a team out there that can wait, it's us. If it means we have to wait a year, we wait a year. If we had to wait, God forbid, two years, he'd be 20 when he got here." Zgoda wrote the team "might be able to wait on the court," but off the court the T'Wolves "lost nearly $20[M] last season, can't sell many upper-level tickets for $5 and possess minority owners concerned and hurting from the economic downturn." Rubio's presence next season "won't fill Target Center, but it will grow buzz about the team" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/27). In St. Paul, Don Seeholzer wondered if T'Wolves fans are "ready to wait a year or two" for Rubio. Kahn: "I hope people understand that it's not just about one person here. In order to be a championship-contending team, we're going to have to have seven or eight guys" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/27).

GLOBAL STAR POWER: TRUEHOOP's Henry Abbott cited sources as saying that Rubio's buyout from Joventut is "something of a red herring." Joventut "does not sell a ton of tickets, does not have much of a fan base, and does not make a lot of money." But Rubio "has global star power," and that "sets up a dynamic where everyone involved ... is better off financially if Rubio comes to the NBA where he can realize his star value on and off the court." If Rubio can get other parties to "pay some or all of his buyout, there are plenty of people willing to float him a loan for the difference" (, 6/26).

DID PRIVATE MEETING TAKE PLACE? In St. Paul, Charley Walters cited a source as saying that Rubio and his father "were to fly to Minneapolis on Saturday to quietly meet" with Kahn. Rubio and his father planned to "sneak into Minneapolis on Saturday, and not on Friday when the Wolves' other top draft picks ... were publicly introduced" because they "didn't want the attention with the contract issue unresolved." The T'Wolves "don't plan to exert any pressure on Rubio," but they will "do what they can to accommodate the flashy point guard from Spain without interfering with his current contract status" with Joventut (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/28).

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