Rubio doesn't want to play for Wolves? David Kahn's not commenting
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn declined comment Monday on the unnamed sources quoted in a New York Times story that said Ricky Rubio has no interest in playing in Minnesota.
Jonathon Giovny -- owner of DraftExpress.com -- cited "a senior member of Rubio's camp" in Sunday's edition of Times as saying: "The bottom line is, why would he want to play in Minnesota? He'll continue to say all the diplomatic things, and Minnesota needs to keep his value up for trade purposes, but the family's preference is to be on the East Coast, specifically New York, Miami or Boston. He wouldn't be troubled if he has to stay another year."
It is important to tread lightly in the digital world when it comes to unnamed sources, especially when it is an overseas source as vague as "senior member of Rubio's camp."
But regardless of this latest report, Rubio's comments about playing for the Wolves -- who lost 129-125 to the Houston Rockets on Monday -- thus far have been noncommittal at best. And with the team's current point guard struggles, it is important now more than ever the 20-year-old Spanish prodigy comes to Minnesota and succeeds.
Because of the now-infamous decision to take three point guards in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft, Kahn has hitched his reputation to their success and a season-and-a-half in, it isn't exactly paying dividends.
Jonny Flynn has struggled since returning on Dec. 14, averaging just 4.3 points on 33% shooting and 2.6 assists in 18 games and zero starts. In Flynn's defense, he is coming off major hip surgery; however, the fifth-overall pick out of Syracuse finished tied for a distant fifth in the rookie of the year voting last year with just two votes, well behind Golden State's Steph Curry and Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings, both point guards taken after Flynn in the draft.
To make matters worse, Denver's Ty Lawson -- the often forgotten third point guard drafted in 2009 and traded to the Nuggets for a future pick -- is averaging 10.9 points on 50% shooting and 4.0 assists in 24.1 minutes. Lawson has appeared in 42 games, starting five, and provided quality back-up play to veteran Chauncey Billups.
Luke Ridnour has given the Wolves mostly steady point guard play, starting 36 of the team's 44 games. Ridnour has faced his fair-share of criticism from fans but it is mostly baseless. The veteran was signed as a stop-gap starter until Flynn was healthy and to serve as a mentor to Flynn and eventually Rubio, much like he did in Milwaukee last season for Jennings.
If anything, fans should be thankful Ridnour has been able to adjust as well as he has. The 29-year-old veteran's 30.0 minutes per game is the most he has averaged since the 2005-06 season and the third most of his career. Ridnour is averaging a career-high 11.6 points on 47% shooting and 5.8 assists.
While Ridnour is enjoying something of a resurgence as a starting point guard but with his 30th birthday coming in less than a month, he is by no means the long-term answer as starting point guard for what is now the leagues youngest team.
The only other point guard on the current roster is Sebastian Telfair and coach Kurt Rambis has made it very clear that -- despite Telfiar being 3-5 as a starter this season -- he has no intention of giving Telfair any run over Flynn. Benching Flynn for Telfair would mean a complete admission of defeat on last years fifth-overall pick and kill what little trade value he has left.
So that is where the Wolves stand a season-and-a-half after drafting three point guards in the first round of the 2009 draft. An aging veteran in Ridnour, a struggling sophomore in Flynn, a six-year journeyman who can't get into a game in Telfair and a 20-year-old playing for FC Barcelona who has yet to show any genuine interest in playing in Minnesota.
It is crucial for the Wolves' development that Rubio gets here next season and somehow manages to live up to the incredible hype bred from years of YouTube exposure. The Wolves have Rubio's rights for life -- or until he sits out a professional season -- so they have all the leverage in what has almost turned into a game of cat-and-mouse. Waving the white flag, trading his rights and having to draft another point guard would be a PR disaster for a team whose ever-dwindling fan base is still scratching their head over the '09 draft and growing more and more restless with each loss.