It has appeared, for two years, Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio didn’t want to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who drafted him 5th overall in the 2009 NBA draft.
And why would he? The Timberwolves are annually one of the worst franchises in the NBA. They can’t get it right. But T-Wolves GM David Kahn has never given up on Rubio, who after being drafted by Minnesota basically said, “No, that’s OK. I’m going to go play in Spain.” This is where Rubio has been for the past two seasons.
Well, with Regal FC Barcelona, Rubio has not exactly “shined” like the All-Star point guard the T-Wolves and the rest of the NBA has hoped he would be. Still there is hope, I guess. For those stat geeks, here’s Rubio’s season line:
6.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.6 SPG. (Worse: 39% from two-point range and a horrible 22% from beyond the arc).
He’s proven he can make free throws and steal balls in the Euro League, but not much else. His 6 points per game is no 20 point-per-game lottery pick that we have grown accustomed to. No, but Kahn believes in him.
And I guess for those of you who closely follow ESPN’s Chad Ford, you should know that he has faith as well.
But OK, to the point now. With Rubio planning to play for the T-Wolves, according to an unnamed source close to the team and Rubio’s negotiations, where will Kahn go with this year’s draft pick? There have already been whispers about the Cavaliers trading their 4th pick for the T-Wolves 2nd pick, thus taking both Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams.
But come on do we really want to Cavs to get rich again with two potentially young All-Stars. Wait… don’t get All-Stars mixed up with LeBron James – neither player can be what he was, and IS for the Heat.
What are they going to do? Well, I haven’t talked to Kahn yet, but here are some situations I would discuss with him:
Scenario 1: Prove how senseless you are and take Kyrie Irving, as I project, with the 2nd pick in the draft. Draft another point guard. Get fired.
That one is just for fun…
Scenario 2: Strike up conversations with the Lakers. I’m not sure if they are very high on Andrew Bynum at the moment, so this is your chance. Offer the Lakers, a team without a first round pick, the 2nd pick of the draft (the rich would get richer, yes). If the Lakers say: OK, we’ll give you Bynum. You give us your 2nd pick, and Kevin Love or Johnny Flynn. Then what would you say, Kahn? Don’t jump just yet, get something more back for that.
Here’s the trade: (Lakers get) Minnesota’s 2nd pick and Johnny Flynn. (T-Wolves get) Andrew Bynum and the Lakers’ first round pick next year. I think they’d do it. However, if it’s Flynn, not Love, in that deal, the Lakers might not say yes because they might want to take Irving with that 2nd pick.
Scenario 3: Unlike my current projections, the Cavs would pick Irving first overall, leaving Derrick Williams for the T-Wolves. This would be a great opportunity, if only Derrick Williams were a small forward. He’s not. He should be a power forward at the next level, and I don’t want to let Kahn screw up D-Will’s future at PF.
Scenario 4: Just do it. Swap picks with Cleveland. To the Cavs goes the 2nd pick. To the T-Wolves goes the 4th pick. The 4th pick is a much more viable pick for getting a small forward – a major need for Minnesota. Or, possibly, Enes Kanter, a center might be available.
After dealing this pick, the T-Wolves might not be done. The 4th pick may also be a much bigger bargaining chip for other teams. See, the 2nd pick gives you an option of one player to take because no team wants to spend that high of a pick on someone besides the top two (D-Will, Irving). Teams that may be interested: Washington, LA Lakers, Sacramento, Charlotte.
Scenario 5: You get the 4th pick, but don’t trade it. The choice is now between two players available – Enes Kanter and Jan Vesely. If neither is available, call up Washington. See what they want and figure out how they can get it. In Washington’s spot, Kawhi Leonard will be available.
With Rubio now apparently punching a ticket for Minnesota, where he’s going to be awfully cold, I foresee Scenarios 3 and 4 being possible. I don’t see Kahn taking another point guard, unless Irving is used as some kind of trade bait within the draft.