The stone hasn't been cast, yet smoke is starting to clear, heads are starting to turn and positive things are starting to circulate around the web about Minnesota Timberwolves' 2008 NBA draft choice Ricky Rubio.
Upon Rubio being drafted, everyone was excited about the pick. Rubio was a consensus top 3 pick. Given the speculation that Minnesota wanted to trade for the #2 pick to draft Rubio, the asking price was too high from the Memphis Grizzlies (who drafted Hasheem Thabeet), and David Kahn held off and Rubio slipped.
After draft night, Rubio was nowhere to be found. It was known later that he did visit the state of Minnesota and enjoyed his visit but because of his contractual situation with his former ballclub, making the jump to the NBA would take him at least 1-2 years. As David Kahn said many times, if there's anyone that can afford to wait, it would be the Wolves.
While I must say it has been a short 2 years, Rubio is a mere 20 years old, a fantastic prospect and it appears that the plan has come to fruition. David Kahn's legacy rests on Rubio coming over and while there hasn't been anything concrete stating that Rubio is coming over, I have speculated that a deal has been done for quite some time now. I speculate before the season ended that Rubio had already signed a contract.
In the press conference that Kahn held before the Minnesota Timberwolves' last game against the Houston Rockets, David Kahn reiterated that he would not speak on Rubio's situation because he and his team were in the midst of the season. If Rubio hadn't planned on signing a contract, Kahn probably would have said so by now. He has gone on for 2 years stating that Rubio will be in a Timberwolves uniform and it's known that when it comes to anything other than the draft, whatever David Kahn says, seems to come to the light.
Will Rubio be a Timberwolf next season?
One thing about David Kahn's arrogance is that he's brilliant. And by all measures has the lowest basketball I.Q of basketball GM's in the league. However, he was an attorney and he did receive a law degree from New York University.
He worked for Proskauer Rose LLP, the law firm that represents the biggest North American sports leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA) in all of their league matters for several years. He was involved in real estate ventures in Portland, he has also helped purchase several teams in the NBA development league. Based off of that alone, it's conclusive that Kahn worked more on the business side of the league.
This gives insight as to why his draft choices, the hiring of Kurt Rambis and everything related to the actual game of basketball have been well below average. But on the business/financial side of basketball operations, Kahn hasn't been as terrible. He's freed up cap space while accumulating more talent, the marketing has been great and so his tenure with the Wolves hasn't been a complete Apocalypse.
Given that Kahn is a lawyer and has worked contractual situations for a living before, he's probably one of the main guys you want reading over the CBA portaining to Ricky Rubio. The NBA CBA that Rubio would have signed over has a subservience to ends that reads:
From February 1 through May 31 of any Salary Cap Year, a First Round Pick may enter into a Rookie Scale Contract commencing with the following Season, provided that he as of or at any point following the first day of the then-current Regular Season (or the preceding Regular Season in the case of a Contract signed from the day following the last day of the Regular Season through May 31) the player was a party to a player contract with a professional basketball team not in the NBA covering such Regular Season.
This subservience was alive and well prior to May 31. Being that David Kahn was an attorney that had a background with handling contractual agreements with Proskauer Rose, he had to know about this rule someway. This is the rule that he's trying to utilize and based off of what StarTribune and other news anchor websites tell us, Kahn has been working diligently to get Rubio over here next season.
Ricky Rubio has had a lack of development with his current ballclub. He hasn't gotten ample playing time and when he does get time, he doesn't get to play the way he was born to play. His lack of development has been discouraging to Wolves fans, but also to himself. He's a star in the making and although he might not say it, he played at one time as if he believed it. Rubio needs a chance to play through his mistakes, and what team makes more mistakes than the Wolves?
He will get guaranteed money under the current rookie scale. The Wolves have endorsement deals lined up for him so he won't have to pay a penny on his buyout clause. The Wolves have been very persistent in their pursuit with Rubio, highly thought to be the main factor in him wanting to come to the NBA. The Rubio family is searching for schools in Minnesota (for his little sister). With all of these factors coming into play, it's hard to argue why Rubio won't be playing basketball in the NBA next season.
If there is a lockout, that wipes out virtually half of the NBA season. For Rubio, it would not be the end of the world to get a break from playing basketball. He needs time to get acclimated to the American lifestyle and to rest his body from playing year round basketball and his injured foot.
He gets the chance to have an all-star teammate in Kevin Love and gets to grow with the likes of Michael Beasley and Wes Johnson. It's not written in stone that the Wolves draft pick Ricky Rubio will be playing with the Wolves next season, but there's a very good chance.
Ricky Rubio and David Kahn had a pact not to say anything regarding his future in the NBA. It would be easy for Kahn to say "Rubio isn't coming". This wouldn't be disrespecting Rubio and his current ball club, but it would if Kahn were to start selling Rubio jerseys on NBA.com.
Expect Rubio to be introduced the day after the 2011 NBA draft.
Thanks for reading!
Timber Wolf is an analyst for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @ Timb3r_Wolf.