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Wolves dispute Rubio buyout


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn disputed a Spanish report Wednesday that point guard Ricky Rubio will be staying in Spain for another two years.

The Spanish Web site reported earlier in the day that Regal Barcelona had reached a buyout agreement with Rubio's team, DKV Joventut for $5.3 million. The report said Rubio would sign a six-year deal with the team that included an affordable buyout in 2011 that would allow him to come to the NBA.

But Kahn issued a statement saying no deal has been reached.

"Based on the information I have attained today, no team in any league has reached a deal with DKV Joventut concerning Ricky's buyout, which must be accomplished before Ricky is released from his contract with DKV Joventut," the statement read.

That means that Rubio's saga will continue as the Timberwolves and new head coach Kurt Rambis get closer to the beginning of training camp.

The Timberwolves selected Rubio with the fifth pick in the June draft, knowing full well of the sticky buyout situation with DKV Joventut. Rubio is under contract for another two years with Joventut, a deal that includes an $8 million buyout.

The Timberwolves can only contribute $500,000 toward the buyout of Rubio's contract under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.

That means Rubio would be responsible for paying the balance himself. Rubio is understandably hesitant to start his NBA career some $7.5 million in the hole.

Kahn has traveled to Spain in hopes of negotiating the number down, but so far has been unsuccessful in those efforts. He has said on more than one occasion that the rebuilding Wolves will be fine waiting a year, or two in the worse-case scenario, for Rubio to come to the United States to play.

More time in Europe would allow the 18-year-old to develop against some of the best players overseas in an environment many scouts say is superior competitively to that of the NCAA.

Coming to the NBA this season would allow the baby-faced Rubio to take advantage of increased endorsement opportunities in the United States while helping the revenue-starved Timberwolves sell tickets to a fan base that hasn't seen a team make the playoffs since 2004.

If Rubio does not come to Minnesota this season, the Timberwolves are covered. They took Jonny Flynn, another point guard, with the sixth overall pick right behind Rubio.