Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn has a message about Ricky Rubio. In a phone conversation today, he explained:
Don't believe anything you read, or any kind of emotional outburst, or any kind of emoting of any sort that he will not play here. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm looking very forward to him starting his career here with the Minnesota Timberwolves in what I assume will be a year-and-a-half.
Why a year and a half?
He doesn't have a buyout at the end of this year. I'm assuming it will be difficult for him to leave. Barcelona paid a lot of money for his buyout, about $5.3 million, they're obviously going to want to amortize their investment over a couple years. There is a buyout after that, however.
How do we know what he's thinking? Can you characterize where your confidence comes from? Were you over there?
I was over there. I saw him play in Serbia a few weeks ago. We have people at most of his games. There's no reason for us to think otherwise. We developed a very solid relationship with his representatives, and more importantly, perhaps, his family, this past summer. It wasn't an issue of him having any concern about Minnesota whatsoever. I think at the end of the day he just felt that him having a couple more years in Europe would be the smart and prudent thing for him to do. He had a lot of input from his Spanish National team members, who all think he can play here, but also thought that a few more years of development would help him. I don't have any reason not to think that's true, either.
Has your view of him evolved at all, since drafting him?
I think this year he's had to play in a much more rigid system with Barcelona. It hasn't afforded him the kind of freedom he had in Badalona. But I think there's been an adjustment period, but he's made a really fine adjustment. He's on what is arguably the best team in Europe. So he's surrounded by better players, and playing at a very high level. He's not playing as many minutes, because the team is so deep. But he's starting and still playing a good 20 minutes a night.
And when I saw him I thought his upper body looked a bit bigger. His arms have more definition. I asked him. He told me he has been lifting.
He has been working very diligently on his shot ... so we shall see.
It's amusing, too, to see that a lot of people are looking at his statistics and complaining, yet they fail to make any connection to Brandon Jennings. I believe to this day that Ricky will prove to be a very special NBA player, and I fully expect him to be here in the next year-and-a-half.