The news has become official: Ricky Rubio will remain in the Spanish league the next two seasons and play for Barcelona. David Kahn is saying Rubio backed out of a deal with the team but I’m guessing he’s just saying that to save face. Most people probably won’t know why Rubio has decided to remain in Spain but we can take some guesses.
The first issue may have been that Rubio was drafted by a perceived second-rate, small-market organization. Rubio likely wanted to go to a bigger market where he had the potential to become a star. By biding his time, he can wait and see how things shake out in Minnesota, hoping that they may wind up trading him. Secondly, this could have been a financially motivated move considering DKV Joventut put unfair restrictions on him, pricing his buyout at like $5 million. Since the NBA team that drafted him could only pay $500,000 towards the buyout, having the new deal reached through Barcelona saves Rubio money.
The last reason why Rubio may have been turned off by Minnesota is their choice of Jonny Flynn with the sixth pick. Is it possible that Minnesota’s insurance plan for Rubio is the reason Rubio didn’t want to join the team? Did he take it as a bad sign that the team selected another point guard in the first round and was he insulted? It sure is a possibility and I blame Minnesota for screwing it up. If they wanted Flynn as their point guard, they should have just taken him. If they wanted Rubio, they should have taken Rubio and used the sixth pick to improve a different position. Everyone knows you don’t waste your second round pick on Peyton Manning if you just took Tom Brady with your first — you load up at another position. The only bright side for Minny is that in two years at least they’ll have an idea of what Flynn brings to the table and what they need to do in the draft. But that may be giving them too much credit.