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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Mark Cuban sweet talks Ricky Rubio

By Jeff Caplan

So, Mark Cuban has a crush on Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, who was drafted the by Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009, but still hasn't played for them as he prefers to play in sunny Barcelona instead of chilly Minny.

Rubio doesn't want to live in the frozen Midwest and if he continues to spurn the Wolves, Cuban, who said the Mavericks tried to trade up to nab Rubio -- "But we weren't close. We would have loved to draft him," Cuban told the St. Paul Pioneer Press Monday night -- is ready to pounce.

Of course, Rubio hasn't said he wants to play in the great Southwest either. He and his family prefer the East Coast. Still, Cuban is all ears if the Wolves get to a point to deal. He called Rubio a "star in the making" -- which sounds a lot like the descriptions used for some kid named Rodrigue Beaubois.

"We're very high on him," Cuban said told the newspaper. "If they want to give him up, we're very interested. We would do that in a heartbeat."

The Mavs are going to need a starting point in two seasons. Jason Kidd's contract expires after the 2011-12 season (assuming there is a season). Beaubois has been tapped the point guard of the future, but there's plenty of uncertainty if he the lightning-quick slasher will ever be able to assume that mantle.

Dallas was interested at the trade deadline of re-acquiring Devin Harris with designs of flipping him at some point for Deron Williams, but the New Jersey Nets took care of that.

The Wolves want Rubio to play for them, but if not...

"I don't think if he came in [to the NBA] now he would dominate the league or anything like that," Cuban said. "But, I think he would have a big impact here."

For those of you wondering how Cuban say such things without it being considered tampering by the league, there is no harm, no foul because Rubio is not under contract with the Wolves.