Sources: Drop in salary affects buyout

Updated: July 15, 2009, 10:12 AM ET
By Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine

Spanish star Ricky Rubio's move to the NBA has been complicated by his sliding to fifth in the draft, but the only options he's currently considering are playing in Minnesota or returning to DKV Joventut, sources said on Tuesday.

Had Rubio been a top three pick, he could have more easily afforded to pay Joventut to release him, a source said. But the difference in salary between third and fifth in the draft is roughly $600,000 a year. Joventut reportedly is asking for no less than $4 million for his release.

Going to another European team is not a realistic option because that team would want a long-term commitment from Rubio and his desire remains to play in the NBA, a source said. Whether he can do that next season or when his Joventut contract expires two years from now is the question.

In any case, Rubio apparently has no objections to playing in Minnesota.

"This isn't about Minnesota," a source said. "It's about the buyout."

Although the Wolves drafted another point guard in Syracuse's Jonny Flynn on June 25, a source said Minnesota is dedicated to having Rubio on the team next season.

Ric Bucher is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Insider.

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer