The NBA’s Twittersphere had a moment where it hit a mild state of chaos. It all started after Darren Wolfson tweeted this:
Followed by an article posted by CBS Sports’ Matt Moore:
Report: Ricky Rubio wants five-year max, designated player extension from Wolves http://t.co/PXltefAGBD— Matt Moore CBS (@MattMooreCBS) July 15, 2014
In short, Rubio’s agent, Dan Fegan, is pushing for the full 5-year max for Rubio. Many assumed that this contract was originally being saved for Rubio,and was likely the original (and ill-advised) reason why Kevin Love got the short end of the stick in the world of NBA max contracts.
Rubio is a very good player, but not deserving of a max contract.
With that said, there isn’t any need to worry at this point. This is a pretty standard starting point for negotiations, and shouldn't come as much of a shock. Agents do this, especially with players that are about to head into restricted free agency.
The Wolves shouldn’t be in any hurry to extend Rubio, and very likely aren't. If they allow him to enter free agency in the summer of 2015, he’ll go in as a restricted free agent. In that scenario, he’ll have to play the market and try to find a team willing to sign him to a max offer sheet. That in itself seems highly unlikely, given his current value. The Wolves will almost definitely hold off on extending Rubio until next summer as a result, and let the rest of the league determine his value.
Flip Saunders, nothing else, is patient. He has proven that this summer with Kevin Love, and there’s no reason to assume he’ll act any differently with Ricky Rubio’s situation. Still, as Eric mentioned via email, Dan Fegan is a tough dude. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Rubio will get overpaid to a certain degree. He’s is a fan-favorite, a top-notch defender and passer, and may be a unicorn. Still, it almost certainly won’t be the max, unless…
@timfaklis unless he breaks out amazingly--IN WHICH CASE THEY JUST MAX HIM AND EVERYTHING'S AWESOME!— Patrick Fenelon (@Patrick_Fenelon) July 15, 2014
This is still possible. Not probable, but possible. Rubio’s improvement around the basket post-All Star break was excellent. He improved from 43 percent to 53 percent around the rim, and stayed steady from everywhere else (which isn’t really a good thing). Improving scoring production from "bad" to "average" could open up his entire game. Again, this outcome is not probable.
This isn’t something that will be settled for a while, and that’s a good thing. It’s Dan Fegan’s job to start at this point, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re asking for so much. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise when he doesn’t receive it.