Rubio still committed to NBA
BARCELONA, Spain -- Ricky Rubio wants to keep playing basketball in Spain, saying a move to the Minnesota Timberwolves would be too risky and complicate his life.
The 19-year-old point guard was sent from DKV Joventut to Barcelona on Tuesday after the Catalan club paid Rubio's $5 million buyout clause.
Rubio, the Timberwolves' fifth overall pick in this year's draft, agreed to a six-year deal that included a buyout clause that allows him to leave for the NBA after two years.
"Going to Minnesota would have just complicated my life a lot. It was a risk and I didn't see it so clearly," Rubio said. "My priority was the NBA and it was impossible for the Minnesota Timberwolves to pay my buyout clause, so I wanted to stay home."
Timberwolves president David Kahn traveled to Spain three times to try to work out a deal and appeared to have secured Rubio's passage to Minnesota less than 48 hours before the player changed his mind.
"When the season ended, I entered the draft with the intention of going to the NBA," Rubio said Wednesday. "But some things happened that kept me from being ahead of the rest and I ended up No. 5, which I was happy with, but it didn't allow me the chance to go to the NBA. I tried, but in the end it wasn't to be."
NBA guidelines limit the amount of money Minnesota could have contributed to Rubio's buyout at $500,000. Kahn said a package of endorsement deals and sponsorships had helped make the NBA deal attractive enough for Rubio and Joventut to enter into an agreement on Saturday.
"They could only put half a million into it, and I think that the deal with Minnesota had too many obstacles," Rubio said.
Rubio said he was still committed to going to the NBA, even though there is no guarantee the starting point guard spot will still be around.
"I won't lie," Rubio said. "My objective has always been the NBA."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press