8.31 The Cooler

Rubio’s status still up in the air; Scola dominates at FIBA Americas

By 08.31.09
Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio

The Ricky Rubio song-and-dance has turned into the Michael Myers of the NBA offseason; it just won’t stay down. Last week, Rubio was reportedly going to sign a six-year contract with Regal FC Barcelona (Spain) — where he’d be teammates with J.C. Navarro, Terrence Morris, Fran Vasquez, and the immortal Boniface N’Dong — that had a reasonable buyout option in 2011. Bad news for the Wolves, right? Not so fast. The Barcelona deal isn’t official yet, and in the meantime, Minnesota GM David Kahn has flown to Spain AGAIN trying to work something out. At this point, Kahn might as well buy a condo out there and sublease it when he’s not busy trying to convince Rubio to come to America. Maybe let Jonny Flynn vacation there next summer as payback for jerking his emotions around all this time. The Wolves can only contribute $500,000 to Rubio’s buyout, but they’re about to spend more than that amount just with all the travel … (If the Vancouver Grizzlies had put this much effort into trying to keep Steve Francis, do you think he would’ve canceled his trade demand and maybe that franchise would still be in Canada?) … (Second random thought: Since so many people are basing their belief that Rubio will be an NBA star on the fact that he held his own against Team USA in the Olympics, how do they feel about Navarro? If we recall correctly, Navarro was getting buckets against the Redeem Team in that gold medal game) … Another of this summer’s neverending stories is that of David Lee. The latest out of New York says the Knicks are still looking for a sign-and-trade partner, with the Blazers and Jazz being the two main teams mentioned. Portland has yet to ink LaMarcus Aldridge to a contract extension, so Lee could be on their radar as LMA’s eventual replacement (or a very highly-paid backup). With Utah, you have to assume Carlos Boozer would be included in any deal with the Knicks … Did somebody say something about Michael Jordan being bigger than the game? A couple weeks before MJ’s scheduled induction into the Hall of Fame, the ceremony has been moved from the Hall’s original building to a bigger venue in Springfield, Mass., due to high demand for spots in the crowd. HOF president John Doleva did his best to make it sound like it was an all-encompassing thing (“People see this as a special class”), but with all due respect to David Robinson, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan and C. Vivian Stringer, you know this is all about Mike … With pool play wrapping up Sunday, the FIBA Americas quarterfinal field is set: Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Panama and Argentina advanced, while the Virgin Islands and Venezuela were sent packing … In a must-win, Argentina knocked off the Dominican Republic in overtime, getting 30 points from Luis Scola, while Al Horford posted 24 points, 11 boards and six dimes for DR, and Francisco Garcia dropped 20 points on five threes. Charlie Villanueva had played maybe the best tourney game of anybody so far when he put up 28 points and 12 boards on Saturday, but during that game he tweaked his ankle and struggled Sunday (3-13 FG, 9 pts) … In yesterday’s other games: Esteban Batista had 13 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks in Uruguay’s win over Mexico; Carlos Arroyo scored 16 in PR’s win over Canada, while Andy Rautins had all 18 of his points on threes, and Joel Anthony added 13 points and 10 boards for the losers; and Leandro Barbosa led Brazil over Panama with 17 points … Bill Laimbeer‘s quitting on the Detroit Shock mid-season didn’t work out like he probably hoped, as he didn’t get one of the NBA’s then-vacant head coaching jobs. Laimbeer did, however, just get added onto the Wolves staff as an assistant along with Reggie Theus. A while back we said the Hornets staff — with Byron Scott, Robert Pack and Paul Presseywould beat any other NBA team’s coaches in a 3-on-3 right now, but Minnesota has to have the most impressive group now. That’s assuming they don’t self-destruct due to Kurt Rambis and Laimbeer fighting constantly like Flight & Willie (“Man, f*** you man, Opie’s pissin’ on you!”) … For the last week or so, NBA TV has been airing re-runs of the pro debuts of various superstars, from Shaq to LeBron to Reggie Miller and more. Last night they were showing Jazz/Rockets from ’85, a.k.a. Karl Malone‘s debut. The tape was of the Rockets’ broadcast, so at the very moment where Malone checks in for the first time, Utah’s Adrian Dantley is between the free throws, and the Houston announcers are complaining about how long AD takes to shoot. That’s just strange in hindsight … BTW, about three minutes into his first game, Malone got himself to the free throw line, ripped down a rebound where he might have eaten the guy trying to box him out, and threw an elbow in some guy’s chest. And that’s pretty much what he did for the next 18 years, too … We’re out like Team Virgin Islands …

TAGSAdrian DantleyAl HorfordAndy RautinsBill LaimbeerC. Vivian StringerCarlos ArroyoCARLOS BOOZERCharlie VillanuevaDAVID LEEDAVID ROBINSONEsteban BatistaFran VasquezFrancisco GarciaJ.C. NavarroJERRY SLOANJOHN STOCKTONJonny FlynnKARL MALONEkurt rambisLAMARCUS ALDRIDGEleandro barbosaLuis ScolaMichael JordanReggie TheusRICKY RUBIOShaquille O'NealSmackSteve Francis

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