NBA Franchise Notes: T'Wolves Hoping Ricky Rubio Will Provide Spark
In N.Y., Pat Borzi notes the T’Wolves are "in search of a spark and a following,” and team officials hope that rookie G Ricky Rubio, along with Fs Kevin Love and Michael Beasley and new coach Rick Adelman, “can supply both.” The T’Wolves “announced a crowd of 15,013 for Rubio’s debut Saturday, the largest for a Minnesota exhibition game since 1999.” The team said that it “had sold the equivalent of 7,500 season tickets this year, 2,000 more than last season and the most” since the ‘05-06 season. T’Wolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said that the team “would resist the urge to oversell Rubio in advertising and promotions.” Kahn: “That would be a terrible mistake. I subscribe to the old theory, underpromise and overdeliver” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/22).
IN THE COURTS: In Oakland, Paul Rosynsky reports former Warriors Dir of Community Relations Erika Smith is “claiming in a lawsuit that star guard Monta Ellis engaged in a months-long sexual harassment campaign, sending her numerous sexually suggestive texts including a picture of his genitalia.” Smith also claims that “the team's owners and general manager purposely attempted to protect their ‘franchise’ player by ‘sweeping (the allegations) under the rug.’” Smith is suing the team, Ellis, co-Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, GM Larry Riley and “other unnamed team representatives.” She is “seeking unspecified monetary damages for numerous legal causes including emotional distress, lost wages and lost future earnings.” Warriors President & COO Rick Welts “denied the allegations” (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 12/22).
WIN-WIN FOR ALL: In Chicago, David Haugh notes the Bulls on Wednesday signed G Derrick Rose to a five-year, $94.8M million contract extension, and “without even factoring in how the contract legitimizes the Bulls long-term championship hopes, the money invested in Rose will seem like a bargain by the time the deal runs out in 2017.” Haugh: “Think of how the image of Rose soaring in his No. 1 jersey symbolizes the sleek elegance of Chicago every bit as much as the skyline. From China to Chinatown, Rose represents the city in exemplary fashion every game he puts on a Bulls uniform on national TV, every commercial he shoots.” Rose “embraces the role of city ambassador with more modesty but less panache than Michael Jordan.” Haugh: “With apologies to Brian Urlacher and Jonathan Toews, Rose has become the face of Chicago sports most easily recognized and universally respected” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/22).