The highly touted 20-year-old Spanish guard ended two years of speculation Friday, saying “I have finally decided to start the journey” to the NBA.
“It is my dream and I want to fulfill it,” he said. “After thinking about it a lot, the time has arrived.”
The Timberwolves chose Rubio with the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA draft. But his $6 million buyout clause at Barcelona _ of which an NBA team could pay only $500,000 under league rules _ made him stay in Spain until it came down to a more manageable $1.4 million.
“This is a day our organization and our fans have been eagerly awaiting from the moment we drafted him, and I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Ricky to Minnesota,” Wolves President David Kahn said in a statement Friday.
“I think all that I have won here gives me strength to go,” Rubio said.
But Rubio is coming off perhaps his most disappointing season. His scoring average dropped to 6.5 points and he even lost his starting spot with Barcelona.
“Individually, I could have done things better, but it is a team sport and we had success,” Rubio said, adding he was not going to the NBA in an attempt to revive his game.
“I am going because I feel prepared,” Rubio said. “I want to play against the best players in the world.”
Barcelona won the Spanish league title last week, and Rubio knows he might have to wait awhile for another trophy. Minnesota was an NBA-worst 17-65 last season and is in dire need of a capable point guard.
“It will mean a change of mentality,” Rubio said. “Perhaps we won’t be fighting for the title, but we will have other goals. I am willing to do whatever the team needs to win as many games as possible.”
Many had speculated that Rubio would try to force his way out of small-market Minnesota to play in a bigger city. But the Timberwolves never pressured the precocious teenager, delicately negotiating until Rubio decided the time was right.View Entire Story
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
The young drop coverage to avoid higher premiums
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
We welcome you to the intimate and personal thoughts on the news and events we, as editors, watch, read, and discuss with our writers every day.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Looking at pop culture, politics and social issues.
Political commentary and literary criticism in an era of eroding liberty
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc