- Ric Bucher, NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer
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While there is growing optimism that Ricky Rubio could be in a Minnesota Timberwolves' uniform for the 2011-12 season, there are still contractual and financial stumbling blocks left to hurdle, according to sources.
The Timberwolves were hoping that buyout terms would've been finalized earlier this month when, sources say, Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, flew to Spain to meet with Rubio's current team, Regal Barcelona. However, there are issues that remain unresolved and although one source put the chance of Rubio joining the Timberwolves this summer at "90 percent," the possibility remains that Rubio could be forced to spend another year in Spain.
Both Kahn and Fegan declined to comment.
According to a source, Rubio has warmed to playing for Minnesota, in part becauce of the Timberwolves' regular visits to Spain since drafting him No. 5 overall in 2009.
Rubio has been coming off the bench for Barcelona and a source says the Spanish club team has been exploring future personnel moves with the idea that it is time for Rubio to move on.
If Rubio were to move to the NBA now, he could sign a contract in advance of potential labor strife that is expected to bring about a more financially-restrictive collective bargaining agreement.
Ric Bucher is a senior NBA writer for ESPN The Magazine.