Rubio, Wolves agree to extension

With three hours to go before the midnight deadline Friday, Ricky Rubio and the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to terms on a contract extension, the team announced.

Rubio has secured a four-year extension worth $56 million that will kick in starting with the 2015-16 season.

"I am happy to be staying with the Wolves and look forward to many successful seasons in Minnesota," Rubio said in a statement issued Friday night. "Our fans have been great and I am excited to be able to play in front of them for many years. I will continue to work hard to improve my game and help our team get better.

"I was talking with my agents, and I told them I really wanted to stay here," Rubio told The Associated Press in a phone interview late Friday night. "I told them to make something work. At the end of the day it did happen, and I'm happy about it."

With an annual salary in the $14 million range, Rubio's new contract features essentially the same per-season rate as Eric Bledsoe's recent five-year, $70 million deal with the Phoenix Suns.

"You're getting paid more, you have to earn it,'' Rubio said. "You have to show why you're getting paid this money. Of course there's going to be extra pressure. I wanted to be more of a leader and take this team to another level."

‎It's a commitment reflective of Minnesota's confidence that Rubio -- now more than two years removed from a torn left ACL suffered in March 2012 -- will combine with rookie guard Andrew Wiggins to lead the Wolves as they move on from the Kevin Love era.

"He came to us with such high expectations and he immediately proved why we were so high on him," team owner Glen Taylor said. "Unfortunately, he got hurt at the end of his rookie season, but he has worked so hard to come back, and we believe he has a long and successful career ahead of him. He's a great foundation for our franchise, and we're very happy to keep Ricky here long term to work and grow with the young nucleus that we have."

"Ricky is only in his fourth season and because of his work ethic and determination, we are confident that he will continue to grow as a player and a team leader,'' team president and coach Flip Saunders said. "We look forward to many great years ahead of Ricky in a Timberwolves uniform."

Rubio's deal takes the number of extensions for the NBA's 2011 draft class to nine, with the Spaniard joining the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson, Denver Nuggets' Kenneth Faried, Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker, Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic, Utah Jazz's Alec Burks and Phoenix Suns twins Markieff and Marcus Morris.

Thompson, Burks and Rubio all landed their deals on deadline day, hours in advance of the midnight deadline.

"I want to call Minnesota home for a long time," Rubio said. "That's why I signed the contract. My mom's going to get mad at me, but I don't leave home when I'm here. This is my second home. I really feel very welcome here."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.