Rubio Watch: Still a chance he will be with Wolves next season
On draft day a few weeks back, Wolves fans went abuzz after messianic, Maravich-esque wonderchild Ricky Rubio fell into the Wolves' lap with the number five pick. Eager anticipation quickly gave way to disappointment after Rubio announced his intent to play at least one more season with his home squad.
Initially, it was surmised that the Twin Cities' status as a frigid small-market destination accounted for the spry Spaniard's cold shoulder.
A source close to Rubio later cleared things up to ESPN.com, saying to Minnesota, in effect, "It's not you, it's your draft position." The paycheck that comes with being the fifth selection ($3,269,160) is a bit scant to justify the $6.6 million buyout required by his contract with DKV Joventut, his present team.
The Wolves, meanwhile, haven't given up hope, though their hands are somewhat tied-- under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, they can only offer Rubio a relatively scant $500,000 toward the buyout. Which is why Timberwolves President David Kahn will be flying to Spain this weekend to meet with DKV higher-ups to try to barter the buyout figure down.
But there's another, oft-overlooked, factor that might prove to be the deal-maker. From Yahoo!Sports:
According to an unnamed source close to Rubio, he's warmed to the idea of playing for Minnesota as potential endorsement deals want him to get to the NBA quickly.
The amount of money Rubio stands to rake in from whoring his likeness to assorted shoe companies, sports drinks, credit card companies, clothing lines, etc. has the potential, in the long run, to dwarf that pesky buyout figure and, for that matter, Rubio's rookie salary.
Even if the Timberwolves are unable to chip away at the buyout figure, there are plenty of image-reliant American corporations out there willing to make up the difference. Or so Wolves fans can hope.