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2014 Free Agency, NBA / Jul 1, 2014 / 1:15 pm

Report: Rubio Extension Talks “Won’t Be Easy”

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio (Brad Rempel, USATODAY Sports)

Kevin Love isn’t the only player that has a murky future with the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to a report, contract extension discussions between the team and Ricky Rubio “won’t be easy.”

Rubio is eligible for an extension beginning this summer. If he and the Timberwolves don’t reach an agreement by a late October deadline, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2014-2015.

The news that contract talks between the two sides could be contentious makes sense. Rubio’s worth is still largely unknown. While a beautiful passer and one of the league’s best defenders at point guard, he’s a woeful mid-range shooter and finisher around the basket. And though Rubio improved to a career-high 33.1% from beyond the arc last season, he still commands almost no respect from defenders at the three-point line, cramping space for his team’s offense to operate. His value on that end is above-average at the very best right now, and it seems unlikely he’ll advance enough as a shooter to be worth much more than that going forward.

But Rubio is a Spanish icon, too. He’s arguably the most famous international guard to ever play in the NBA, and provides marketability and a small hint of legitimate star power that no player on Minny’s roster – save for Love, of course, and perhaps rookie Zach LaVine – comes close to matching. As an on- and off- court anomaly, Rubio would surely be worth more to some teams than others. And despite the Timberwolves only signing Love to a four-year deal with a three-year option in January 2012 presumably to keep the “designated player” distinction open for Rubio, that choice was made under a different front office regime.

Conventional wisdom says that Rubio isn’t worth such a distinction, let alone a max-level contract offer. According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, though, agent Dan Fegan will seek a salary close to that mark for Rubio.

Expect Rubio’s side to push for a contract closer to a maximum salary than the four-year, $44 million extension Golden State’s Stephen Curry received, which the Wolves just might view as beyond their limits.

“No, it’s something I’m not worried about,” Rubio said Wednesday. “It’s something my agent is going to talk with Flip. It’s something I don’t have to be worried. I just worry about playing. I just want to have it being on a team that’s winning and I think this team is growing up and we can do it and I want to play in a playoff, you know?”

Again, that seems an expensive price-tag for Minnesota. In a huge state of transition, though, Flip Saunders and company might deem it best to secure a core player for the long-haul. It’s been widely speculated that the Timberwolves don’t want to completely re-build in a post-Love era, and letting Rubio walk next summer would be another step in that direction.

Will Rubio re-sign with the ‘Wolves?

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  • 2cents

    Come on Ujiri, bring RR to Toronto !!!!

  • Matty Lang

    This is just not true:

    “Rubio is eligible for an extension beginning this summer. If he and the Timberwolves don’t reach an agreement by a late October deadline, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2014-2015.”

    He’ll be a restricted free agent and the Wolves would be able to match any offer sheet he signed with another team.

  • JohnBRobinson

    His value on that end is above-average at the very best right now, and it seems unlikely he’ll advance enough as a shooter to be worth much more than that going forward. http://tr.im/5ntlz