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Today marks the final day in which Ricky Rubio can exercise his buyout with Regal Barcelona and join the Wolves for the ’11-’12 season. Under the current rules of the CBA, May 31st is the final day for teams to sign a player to a contract under the rookie scale before the next season. But really, today shouldn’t be recognized as the last for anything; instead today could be viewed as the start of a countdown. For many of you who don’t understand, there are other ways the Wolves and Rubio can get around either signing or reporting he’s part of the team and not actually have to announce it today.
But with today being the most important in months, fans must realize this is all but a done deal. Some obstacles remain very present and could force Rubio’s fate away from the NBA for yet another season.
One of them being Rubio is still under contract with his current team in Europe right now. It’s playoff time, actually. And although Ricky’s not playing as big of a part as some would think (He’s coming off the bench) there’s a good chance he wouldn’t set sail from his squad in the heart of a playoff race. The Wolves, after a couple years of studying Spanish law, actually have figured out that they can sign Rubio to a “future contract.” That way he’d be able to finish the postseason in Spain and join the Wolves near the end of June when the postseason ends.
Another issue could be the international factor as well as the fact that Rubio doesn’t want to play here, as he subtly hinted at when he was drafted. Rubio’s been oh-so shy since receiving even minuscule amounts of NBA attention, making the likelihood of him making his decision via press conference or anything like that slim-to-none. So if later tonight he does indeed decide to be bought out, you won’t hear it unless you have Twitter or an up-to-date news source of that nature. And if you’re looking for this decision to reach the amount of production, limelight and sickening suspense like “Lebron’s Decision Day,” you’re in the wrong place. This news, if broken, will be a small but important bit of info fans can get excited about. Not like using some charity philanthropy to gain leverage on NBA fans around the world and then drop them on their heads in one man’s quest to be a part of an All-Star squad. But I digress.
And finally, the most serious threat to Rubio not signing at all: The expiring CBA. With a lockout looming and neither side, the players or the owners, budging on negotiations to fit a new CBA into place, Rubio may not want to deal with the unpredictability of the whole situation and rather stay in Europe altogether. But, under the current CBA, which expires on June 30th, players are able to sign a free agent on July 1st. So Rubio, if he doesn’t declare his future today and the Union and the owners can sign a deal before the CBA expires, has a new date, July 1st, to actually sign a contract with the team for next season.
Still, even with these issues present, there are “good things happening” behind the scenes, a source told me. The odds of us hearing it today may not be the highest by any means, but they’re more than zero. That’s a very good thing. That means Kahn and co. have done good work the past few months and made progress on getting their man overseas. I’ve even heard from others that the Wolves have already signed Rubio and are just waiting for another date to release the good news, which would be fantastic!
And that is why today should be a good day, rather being the final or last time we can get Rubio over here before next season. There are ways around it, as I already reviewed, that make it possible for today to be just as normal as any other. It’s just that today should be thought of as the start of something, not the end.
So if all ends well, something Timberwolves fans know absolutely nothing about, Rubio will be a Timberwolf at some point this summer and will join the team in their effort to turn this ship around, so there’s not reason to fret. It’s another piece to the puzzle but it’s the one you lost under the couch from three months, and you’re happier than hell to get it back and connect it to the board.