Apparently the thing to do among NBA front-office execs these days is boldly assure their fan base that Young Franchise Centerpiece X is definitely staying in town for the long haul. Hasty responses to constant rumors of said youngsters itching to play for more high-profile teams? Maybe. Preemptive damage control to keep fans invested with an NBA lockout looming? Likely.
A week after L.A. Clippers’ GM Neil Olshey guaranteed that Blake Griffin will be a Clipper for life (let’s see how that loyalty holds up if Blake gets a serious injury), Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn addressed the ever-touchy Ricky Rubio situation. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn called a New York Times report this week on Ricky Rubio “much ado about nothing” and “not worthy of a response.”
The report quoted an unnamed source close to Rubio asking why the Spanish guard would ever play in Minnesota and stating the Wolves draft pick wants to play for Boston, New York or Miami when he decides to come to the NBA.
Kahn said he remains “absolutely” certain Rubio will join the Wolves next season after a buyout with his Regal Barcelona team becomes affordable.
With Jonny Flynn‘s recent injuries taking a chunk out of his stock (4.3 ppg, 2.7 apg, 16 mpg) and Luke Ridnour holding down the starting point guard job right now, Rubio is still very much in position to step right in and take over as the Wolves’ PG of the future. And a life in Minnesota looks a lot less miserable for the Spanish phenom with Kevin Love emerging as an NBA All-Star and Michael Beasley dropping 20 points a night.
But the speculation just won’t go away that Rubio is destined to play his first NBA game with the Knicks or Heat or even the Clippers. Kahn says Rubio will make his long-awaited debut for the Wolves, but he has to at least be listening if there are trade offers on the table.