"Mozart" to the New York Knicks?

Patrick MauroAnalyst ISeptember 1, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 12:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain calls a play while taking on China in the preliminary round basketball game held at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium during Day 4 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 12, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves at an interesting fork in the Ricky Rubio-road, and judging by June's draft in which they took point guards with both the fifth and the sixth picks, one they anticipated all along.

If you haven't heard, the Spanish teen-ager (AKA "Mozart") has signed a deal with Barcelona that could keep him in Spain and out of the NBA for the next two seasons.

David Kahn--the guy calling the shots in the Minnesota front office--could wait a couple years for Rubio to join the squad, which might not be the worst thing in the world. He won't turn 19 until late October. In a couple years with more experience under his belt, he'd likely be in a better spot both physically and in terms of maturity to live up to the hype.

But is this more a question of better location (than the land of 10,000 lakes) leading to bigger dollars?

Prior to the draft, Rubio's people opined the benefits of a major market, citing more money from endorsements and an easier process of coming up with the package to release him from the pricey buyout.

Kahn has done everything he possibly can to creatively raise the cash for the monster buyout and going so far as to promise exhibition games against DKV Joventut, what is now Rubio's former Spanish team.

It didn't work. That team turned down the offer, instead agreeing on the buyout from Barcelona, keeping the teenager in the "land of paella" for the foreseeable future.

If Rubio is destined to be an NBA star, the realization of that fate seems more likely later than now.

But wait.

According to StarTribune.com, an NBA source claims the New York Knicks, who wanted Rubio to begin with (they offered their No. 8 pick and Wilson Chandler for the fifth pick back on draft day) are back in possible contention, or at least discussions, regarding the teen joining their team.

They don't have an abundance of draft picks, meaning their only trade bait is un-signed David Lee, who has said he may not come to camp if a deal can't be done.

Lee is a good player, but Al Jefferson (who says his knee will be ready for the season) and Kevin Love occupy the minutes at power forward. If the T-Wolves did acquire him, Lee might be used to acquire someone else from someplace else.

Could the best current European-American play the "three"? I'm kidding.

Is Lee worthy compensation for what could be a future HOFer? The possibility Rubio proves "all hype" has to figure into the decision. His trade value could be at its highest right now.

For Kahn and the organization, it comes down to not only whether they believe he is worth waiting for, but also realistically confronting the possibility that Rubio would rather play NBA hoops somewhere other than Minneapolis.

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