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Walters: TWolves Can Sign Rubio
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Charley Walters: No. 1 draft pick Ricky Rubio to meet with Minnesota Timberwolves about contract
Charley Walters
cwalters@pioneerpress.com
Updated: 06/27/2009 10:32:29 PM CDT

A little birdie said Ricky Rubio and his father were to fly to Minneapolis on Saturday to quietly meet with Timberwolves President David Kahn, who was to welcome the team's top draft pick to Minnesota and chat about beginning his NBA future here.

The Wolves don't plan to exert any pressure on Rubio, the draft's No. 5 overall pick, to sign with them. But they will do what they can to accommodate the flashy point guard from Spain without interfering with his current contract status.

Rubio, 18, was paid just $97,000 last season to play with his Spanish team, which wants him to remain in his homeland so much that it attached a $6.6 million buyout to his contract. The Wolves have no control over Rubio's contract, but he's considering going to court to get the amount of the buyout reduced as well as negotiating with his team for a buyout reduction.

The maximum, by NBA rules, that the Wolves could contribute toward a buyout is $500,000. Even if there is a reduction, it's expected that Rubio would have to pay at least several million dollars himself.

How would he do that on a $97,000 salary?

Signing with the Wolves would guarantee Rubio approximately $6 million his first two seasons. Assuming he were to sign a four-year contract, as expected, the Wolves would have restricted rights for an additional two seasons, and that would be worth nearly $8 million more.

It's expected that Rubio would be allowed to pay his buyout over several years. Conventional wisdom is that he might as well agree to the amount and get a lucrative NBA career started.
Regardless, it's expected to be about a month before his buyout issue can be resolved.

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