GM optimistic about Ricky Rubio deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves general manager Milt Newton says he is optimistic the team can sign point guard Ricky Rubio to a contract extension before the season begins, but he says the team doesn't feel in a rush to do so.

Milton spoke to reporters on Thursday after some of the team's young players, including No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, participated in an informal workout as they get ready for training camp.

Newton says he and Wolves President Flip Saunders are having regular conversations with Rubio's agents about an extension. So far, the two sides have not agreed on terms.

If they don't reach a deal by Oct. 31, Rubio will play this season and become a restricted free agent next summer.

"We're going to look at the situation the same way we did with Kevin (Love)," Newton said. "We're going to do the best thing for the organization, and if we can get something done sooner, great. If not, we're not necessarily in a rush."

If Rubio becomes a restricted free agent, the Wolves could match any offer he receives on the open market. As it stands today, they don't appear willing to offer the five-year maximum contract that former team president David Kahn was saving for Rubio, but Newton said there would be an advantage to getting a deal done before the season starts as opposed until waiting until next summer.

"Going forward, you want to show good will and trust in a player," Newton said. "So it can kind of go both ways whether you wait or do something now, but it has to be right for both sides."

The Timberwolves want Rubio to sign a four-year contract extension, with the exact numbers on that deal still up for negotiation. Rubio is entering his fourth season with the team and has emerged as one of the league's best passers and a very good defender as well. He averaged 8.6 assists and 2.3 steals last season, both elite numbers.

But he has struggled with his shot since he came into the league and averaged 9.5 points on 38.1 percent shooting last season. Rubio has worked with a shooting coach during the summer to try to improve that area of his game, which is necessity for him to take the next step in a league full of quality point guards.

Training camp opens for the Timberwolves on Sept. 30 and there was no indication on Thursday that a deal was close. Newton said "there are some things we agree on, some things we don't agree on."

"I feel optimistic," Newton said. "Knowing Ricky the person, he wants to be here. We just have to deal with his agent."