Ricky Rubio was arguably the most hyped player in the 2009 NBA draft, but the flashy young Spaniard has yet to see an NBA court. He instead decided to stay overseas after being selected fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Now, a source close to Rubio tells the New York Times that the point guard would prefer to play on the East Coast.
“The bottom line is, why would he want to play in Minnesota?” a senior member of Rubio’s camp said this month. “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.”
Minnesota still owns the exclusive rights to negotiate with Rubio, but it is unclear how much of an impact he would have in the NBA at this point. His play has been less than stellar in the Spanish League recently, and he had a poor showing at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, shooting just 28% as Spain lost in the quarterfinals.
It was a questionable pick for Minnesota at the time, and it gets worse each day. Rubio had reportedly said he didn’t want to play in Minnesota prior to being drafted, and the Wolves also selected point guard Jonny Flynn one pick later. GM David Kahn felt he could get Rubio in tow, and that he and Flynn could play together. Now, Rubio has produced nothing, and Flynn has regressed to the point that he was demoted to the D-League earlier this season.
With his trade value plummeting, the Wolves are unlikely to get much in return if they decide to deal Rubio. It seems most likely that Minnesota will continue using what little leverage it has in trying to bring him to the Twin Cities.