Ricky Rubio arrived to the NBA with plenty of hype. While he's proved himself as a terrific distributor, his continued shooting struggles have dampened expectations. Apparently not enough to prevent him from seeking top dollar from the Minnesota Timberwolves, though.
Darren Wolfson of KSTP reports the point guard's agent, Dan Fegan, is seeking a max deal for five years with his client now eligible for an extension:
At 23, Rubio is a solid building block for the future and hope remains that he can develop into a more reliable scorer to keep defenses honest. Furthermore, he will gain some extra leverage should Minnesota eventually trade Kevin Love, leaving the guard as the face of the franchise.
That said, a max contract for a player who shot 38 percent from the floor last season and averaged less than 10 points per game would be a risk for the 'Wolves.
Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders is among those who believes Minnesota must tread careful before making such a huge commitment to Rubio:
Understand Kevin Love is on his way out in Minny, and Ricky Rubio leverage has increased, but MAX? Minny has to be careful here.— Lang Greene (@LangGreene) July 15, 2014
Earlier in the offseason, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune passed along comments from an interview the point guard did with NBA.com. Of particular interest were his comments about playing for a rebuilding team:
I like Minnesota. But I want to win, too. Of course when a big guy like him leaves, you're thinking about what's going to be happening with the team. Are we going to lose a lot? Before I came to Minnesota, the season before they won like 17 games. I was a little scared when I went there. I'm coming from Europe, where I was playing in Barcelona. I think we lost six game or seven games in two season and every loss was a disaster. I don't want to go through a process like every win is something special.
Is Rubio worth a five-year max contract?
Trading Love would make it difficult for Minnesota, which missed the playoffs by nine games last season, to contend in the near future. It only further adds to the risk of giving Rubio, who clearly prioritizes winning, a max contract.
Ultimately, no indication is given by Wolfson that any type of extension agreement is imminent. He simply states that's what Rubio's side is asking for in negotiations. It certainly falls in the category of shooting for the moon.
Reaching a conclusion in the Love trade talks takes top priority. After that, the Wolves should have a better picture of how they plan to move forward, what type of role Rubio would play in their future and whether that's worth a max deal.