Kahn says it's unlikely team will trade 4th pick, Hoopsworld "hearing" Big Al's name in possible draft day trade scenarios, Wolves want Rubio to feel like part of the team, more draft workouts and more
The NBA draft is Thursday, and there are have all sorts of rumors about the Minnesota Timberwolves trading their No. 4 overall pick.
"Highly, highly, highly, highly unlikely," Wolves president David Kahn said this morning.
As for the possibility of trading rights to Spanish guard Ricky Rubio, who was the Wolves' top draft pick (No. 5 overall) a year ago, Kahn reiterated, "I don't anticipate trading him. I feel very strongly that Ricky Rubio should start his career with us here in a Minnesota Timberwolves uniform, and I look forward to that day a year from now."
From the Timberwolves:
The following potential 2010 NBA draft picks will be working out for the Timberwolves next Monday: Damion James, Paul George, Tyren Johnson, Landon Milbourne, Ryan Wittman and Mikhail Torrance.
Just arrived at the 1st #NBA draft workout today. White, Stephenson, Crawford, & Anderson
The Friday morning workout session featured four shooting guards battling at the Wolves practice facility. Obviously, Minnesota would like to acquire a scoring threat at the shooting guard position in Thursday's NBA Draft. Each prospect offers a different skill set that should translate to the next level. During the session, the assistant coaches ran the players through a variety of drills to test their ability to shoot off screens, hit pull-up jumpers, and attack with only seconds left on the game clock. The four potential draft picks also went head-to-head in a physical final drill that highlighted their isolation skills.
In talking to a number of league sources in the run-up to the draft, HOOPSWORLD keeps hearing one name, in particular, involving possible draft day trades. We've heard plenty of rumors involving Minnesota Timberwolves forward Al Jefferson, and it turns out that where there's smoke there is definitely fire. Quite a few teams have indicated that Al Jefferson is one of their primary targets this summer.
While they wait for Rubio, Kahn and Rambis are trying to get a jump on the get-to-know-you process. They had dinner with Rubio and his family in May, giving the 19-year-old his first face-to-face meeting with the man who wants to coach him in the NBA.
"As opposed to the draft process a year ago, we didn't have an opportunity to meet him in that context," Kahn said. "Through either last summer, this year, and with Kurt coming over, I felt it was very important for us to stay connected, but not so connected that he or his team feel overwhelmed."
The Timberwolves want Rubio to feel a part of the team in order to make his eventual transition from exotic Spain to meat-and-potatoes Minnesota as smooth as possible. But they also don't want to infringe too heavily upon him, and his Spanish team Regal FC Barcelona, while he develops his game overseas.
Minnesota -- which drafted another point guard, Jonny Flynn, one pick after selecting Rubio last year -- still has work to do to sell him on playing there, according to high-level sources in the Rubio camp.
But there's no guarantee that you'll see Rubio in any NBA uniform in 2011. In fact, in large part because of a potential lockout and money considerations, the more likely scenario for now is Rubio's arrival in 2012.
Rubio will not be inclined to terminate his contract with Barcelona next summer if there's no new collective bargaining agreement by then. Also, if Rubio waits until 2012 -- three years removed from his draft year -- he'll no longer be bound by the rules of the NBA rookie scale, which, under the current CBA, would pay him an average of about $3.6 million his first two years, a sum that will likely be below market value. Freed from the rookie scale, Rubio could negotiate like a free agent with the team that holds his rights, receiving anything from the mid-level exception ($5.85 million this season) to a maximum contract if a team has the requisite room under the salary cap.
Another factor to consider could be Rubio's contract with Nike, which expires in two years. The company has made no secret of its preference to see Rubio in a bigger NBA market than Minnesota, according to sources, and it will be interesting to see whether the dollars Nike throw into the equation sways things.
From John Hollinger/ESPN: NBA Franchise Rankings: No. 27: Minnesota Timberwolves