Thursday, July 16, 2009
Updated: July 17, 1:31 PM ET
Kahn to discuss Rubio buyout
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves cannot do much financially to help Ricky Rubio with a multimillion-dollar buyout of his contract with DKV Joventut in Spain.
So team president David Kahn will head across the Atlantic next week to meet with the team personally in hopes of lowering the $6.6 million price tag that has threatened to keep the wunderkind point guard in Europe for at least next season.
Kahn confirmed his plans to travel to Spain in a text message to The Associated Press on Thursday, but declined further comment. It was first reported by YahooSports.com.
Rubio, who was drafted fifth overall by the Timberwolves in June, is still under contract with Joventut for the next two seasons. After helping Spain to a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics and playing in the Spanish ACB since the tender age of 14, the 18-year-old is ready to test his skills in the NBA.
The one thing holding him back appears to be money. Rubio made less than $100,000 playing for Joventut last season, so it is no surprise that the prospect of being on the hook for millions of dollars before he even plays a game in the United States would give him pause.
Further complicating the matter is a rule in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement that stipulates the Timberwolves can only pay $500,000 of that large sum to help offset the cost.
From the day Kahn drafted Rubio, to the delight of the Timberwolves fan base, the new president has taken a pragmatic approach to a sticky situation. He said the young and rebuilding team would be willing to wait a year, or even two, if Rubio could not reach an agreeable buyout agreement with Joventut.
Before joining the NBA, Kahn was an attorney at the law firm Proskauer Rose, the same firm that produced NBA commissioner David Stern. That experience could help him as the Timberwolves try to navigate what he has called "a thorny" legal issue.
"We will be totally supportive of Ricky and his family and [agent Dan] Fegan in any way, shape or form," Kahn said the day after Rubio was drafted. "If there's anything we can do to be of assistance or of help, as long as it is within the rules, we will."
The Timberwolves cannot set up Rubio with lucrative endorsements, but it doesn't appear that he will have any problem in that department.
Rubio has the floppy hair and baby face of a teen idol and the slick passing skills of a streetballer that make him inherently marketable. He is already appearing in a television commercial for Gillette, along with Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and Roger Federer.