Reports: Ricky Rubio agrees to join Wolves for 2011-2012 season
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David Kahn has landed his man. Finally.
Drafted fifth overall in 2009, Rubio had until Tuesday night to sign under the rookie pay scale of the NBA's current collective bargaining agreement. By signing prior to the deadline, Rubio is likely guaranteed $15 million over four years.
The 20-year-old point guard shot 31% from the field while averaging 6.5 points and 3.5 assists in the Euroleague regular season, but the Wolves believe he can flourish in the more wide-open American game.
His Spanish League buyout is estimated to be around $1.4 million -- down from approximately $6 million when Rubio was drafted in 2009 -- and under league rules, the Wolves are able to contribute up to $500,000 to help pay the cost to Regal Barcelona.
Rubio was still playing in the Euroleague playoffs as of Wednesday, and the Wolves declined comment to The Associated Press.
The news marks the successful end to a long, and often winding, daliance between the Timberwolves and Rubio. Kahn, the Wolves' president of basketball operations, spent two years in a complex, delicate negotiation, not wanting to put too much pressure on the youngster yet still emphasizing how much the team was looking forward to bringing the slick-passing point guard to the United States.
Kahn called Rubio "a virtuoso and somebody special" after drafting him in 2009. He and agent Dan Fegan came to agreement to bring Rubio over to the NBA that summer, but Rubio pulled out at the last minute after deciding he did not want to pay a buyout that topped $6 million out of his own pocket.
That led to speculation that Rubio did not want to play in cold, small-market Minnesota and was hoping to force a trade to a bigger, more desirable market. But Rubio never expressed that himself, and owner Glen Taylor said he didn't believe that to be the case.
By staying in Spain for another two years, Rubio's buyout has now dropped to a more manageable $1.4 million. A person with knowledge of the negotiations said the Timberwolves have been working with several local companies on some endorsement opportunities that would help pay that bill.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.