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News » RUBIO FLIPPERS? - KNICKS HOPE TO PRY HIM FROM WOLVES


RUBIO FLIPPERS? - KNICKS HOPE TO PRY HIM FROM WOLVES


RUBIO FLIPPERS? - KNICKS HOPE TO PRY HIM FROM WOLVES
The Ricky Rubio sweepstakes is back on!

Knicks president Donnie Walsh said yesterday he's calling Timberwolves general manager David Kahn to see if the Spanish point guard phenom can be had after Rubio's father told a Spanish Web site that Rubio likely will stay in Spain for the next two seasons instead of paying off a buyout.

In another sign he wants nothing to do with Minnesota, Rubio, an 18-yearold, 6-foot-5 showman, was not at yesterday's introductory press conference in Minneapolis, preferring to relax in New York - a good omen for Knicks fans. Kahn said he didn't ask him to attend. A Minnesota official said there's no timetable for Rubio to report. The T'wolves picked Rubio at No. 5 and Syracuse's Jonny Flynn, another point guard, at No. 6.

Asked about Walsh calling, Kahn said, "I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't pick up the phone."

But in a clever counterattack to quell the Rubio rumors, the T'wolves' rookie GM wrote a letter to Minnesota's fans, saying he's willing to wait.

"He is a virtuoso," Kahn wrote of Rubio. "He will be the starting point guard here the moment he walks through our front door. We may have to wait a year or two, but he's worth the wait."

According to a Knicks source, the club believes Rubio's preference is for the T'wolves to trade him to the Knicks . Walsh and Kahn are friends, with Kahn having worked under Walsh in Indiana. The Knicks need a little help from their friends now - the same dynamic that led Kevin McHale to trade Kevin Garnett to his old team, Boston, and Jerry West to hand Pau Gasol over to the Lakers.

"I haven't spoken to Minnesota, [but] I will," Walsh said at the press conference to introduce the Knicks' draft picks, forward Jordan Hill and guard Toney Douglas. "He took a lot of point guards. I want to ask him why he did that. There is something called assembling assets and I don't know if he's doing that."

The Knicks have intricate knowledge of Rubio's $4.2M buyout because their European scout Kevin Wilson lives in Barcelona and has been friends of the family since Rubio was 15. An NBA team can pay just $500,000 toward a buyout and Rubio has to pay the rest. Having Rubio on Broadway with a major marketing deal would be ideal.

Before Thursday's draft, Rubio said, "It would be a dream to play in New York City." The feeling is mutual. "He was one of [our] top players," Walsh said. "I would never say never to anything. We'll be checking everything out. He has a flair."

On WFAN, Walsh added: "He just creates a tempo and can create a way to play where he's getting the ball to people in great positions, and getting them direct layups or getting them open jump shots."

So is the Knicks' new power forward Hill, whom the team's scouts originally rated second in the draft, ahead of Hasheem Thabeet, before workouts. A source said the T'wolves would not be interested in Hill because they have a stud power forward in Al Jefferson.

Walsh refused to offer Wilson Chandler to Washington for the fifth pick, which Minnesota obtained, but Walsh didn't know Rubio would be available at No. 5. Walsh could be willing to part with Chandler now or wait until July to see if the T'wolves have interest in sign-and-trade scenarios with David Lee or Nate Robinson.

The Knicks are also planning to pursue free agent Jason Kidd, who said over the winter he would consider signing here for the midlevel exception to be close to his kids.

With the additions of Hill, Darko Milicic and Douglas, Lee and Robinson have become expendable. Walsh revealed he will meet with Lee and his agent, Mark Bartlestein, July 1 and make an offer. Lee likely will decline and shop himself to see if he can sign an offer sheet for more, which Walsh could reject or match. Walsh said he has a set threshold because he has his eye on the 2010 cap.

"I'm always looking at 2010," Walsh said. "I don't want to disrupt that in a major way."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 30, 2009

 

 
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