The first question people in the United States ask about Ricky Rubio these days is simple: “When is he coming to Minnesota?” The answer is complicated.
Rubio, who was drafted fifth over all by the Timberwolves in 2009, is set to play his second season with F.C. Barcelona, one of the strongest clubs in Europe.
“He has a buyout at the end of next season, and that will be a more appropriate time to talk to him more specifically about that,” Minnesota General Manager David Kahn said. “All in due time. He’s 19.”
Rubio’s buyout is considerably lower than the figure of more than $4 million set by his former team, Joventut. That is important because N.B.A. teams are allowed to pay only $500,000 of a player’s buyout.
But the prospect of an N.B.A. lockout, which some have forecast as a strong possibility for 2011, could interfere. Why would Rubio leave when he can make a hefty salary in Europe?
In the N.B.A. in 2011, he would earn about $2 million, his slotted salary for his draft spot. If Rubio waited until 2012 or was forced to wait because of a lockout, he could earn considerably more.
For three years after a player is drafted, he is essentially locked into a salary slot. It is one reason many European players wait a few years before coming to the United States. That situation could change with a new collective bargaining agreement.
Via NY Times