- Chad Ford, Senior Writer, NBA Insider
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Spanish point guard sensation Ricky Rubio is staying in the 2009 NBA draft his agent, Dan Fegan, told ESPN.com on Monday.
The question is, where will he land on draft night?
For most of the year Rubio was the consensus No. 2 pick in the draft. But after the lottery was settled last month, things became much more interesting. The chances of Rubio slipping in the draft seem to grow by the day.
While NBA executives are in love with Rubio's skill set, they are worried about his lack of strength, inconsistent shooting and a looming war with his Spanish team, DKV Joventut, over Rubio's whopping
$6 million-plus buyout. Rubio has filed a grievance with the Spanish league looking to reduce the buyout. A complicated situation with the Spanish IRS and the team have only muddied the waters.
Rubio's been pretty adamant that he doesn't want to be in Memphis, which holds the No. 2 pick in the draft. While he doesn't have the same objection to Oklahoma City, which holds the third pick, sources say the Thunder are leaning toward drafting either James Harden or Stephen Curry.
Rubio appeared to be a lock to go to the Kings at No. 4. The team needs a point guard and general manager Geoff Petrie has been a fan of international players in the past. But sources in Sacramento say that the Kings have reservations about Rubio and it's far from a done deal that they'd take him if he was on the board at No. 4.
Rubio has also been avoiding the Wizards, who pick at No. 5. His camp believes he's not a good fit in a backcourt with Gilbert Arenas.
All of that uncertainty could lead to an interesting dilemma for Rubio on draft night. His agent has been working with both the Thunder and Grizzlies to find another team willing to trade up. But with just 10 days to go before the draft, there still isn't a deal.
Rubio was on a flight from Barcelona to Los Angeles that was scheduled to arrive Monday evening. Over the course of the next few days Rubio will decide his next course of action. Most likely he'll visit several teams, including the Thunder and Kings. However, the chances that he actually does a workout are slim.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.
Ricky Rubio's agent said his client will remain in the NBA draft.