Rubio does the expected, all hell breaks loose

1 Sep

(Typed this out in a flash and only half-heartedly proofread, so please ignore any errors.)

As most of you know by now, teenage heartthrob and point guard savant Ricky Rubio has decided to stay in Spain for two more years rather than sign with the Timberwolves. (If you recall, I’m one of the franchise’s last remaining diehards.)

This was a likely scenario even before we drafted the kid, as his difficult buyout scenario was public knowledge and cause for concern leading up to draft day. As Kahn was very publicly in rebuilding mode and made it clear more than once — and in fact plainly said it to us fans at the Target Center draft party — we were looking towards the future and planned to both preach and practice patience.

When Rubio dropped into our laps, it seemed a no-brainer. You take him. No second thought needed (not only because he was so highly valued, but that there were no other logical choices). He might not come for a year, maybe two? Who cares. We’re going to be terrible those years anyway, and very few PGs tear up the league right out of the gates (cherry-picked example: Deron Williams put up 11 ppg/4.5 apg his rookie season). While it’s not the sexiest option, letting him develop abroad makes sense and is good for the franchise. This was an easy decision: Rubio is available, so you take him.

So when the news came out about Rubio planning on staying in Spain until 2011, I expected the reaction to be a few brief gripes before we all went on with our business. Everyone had prepared for this likelihood, right?

Not so. Nearly every last bit of commentary and fan reaction was of the negative tone, claiming Kahn blew it, this was a travesty, our franchise is doomed, et al. Almost categorically negative.

I have no idea where this rage is stemming from. Rubio can develop against solid competition while we delay his rookie contract for two years and Flynn has a chance to show the team what he’s got. If Rubio plays well overseas, he can join a team in two years with Jefferson, Love, Flynn, Ellington, Brewer, two potentially high draft picks and some salary cap maneuverability. That feeling you’re experiencing right now is called “excitement,” and it doesn’t happen much with this franchise. Bask in that hopeful outlook.

If Rubio turns out to be a bust, well, that’s the chance you take with draft picks. I thought we were clear on this? Apparently not. Again, I have no damn idea why people are so shocked and dismayed at this development.

The main offender, believe it or not: Bill Simmons. The Sports Guy typically offers level-headed analysis and a deep understanding of basketball ins-and-outs, but has apparently gone off the deep end when discussing the Rubio news. I’ll paste a few of his tweets below. Try to enjoy the lunacy, though I’m sure you won’t.

So Minny traded Foye & Miller for $18 mill of bad contracts + the right to negotiate with Rubio 2 summers from now? Savvy!

Well, yeah. Is there something wrong with that? Foye and Miller are both bench players and both were poised to leave after the season. What good were they going to do this franchise? Allow me to answer: nothing. And as for the contracts, far as I can tell they’re a non-factor. Sensing some sour grapes here.

ESPN’s Chris Sheridan is reporting that Isiah Thomas just called David Kahn to congratulate him on his wheeling and dealing.

Again, this is a reaction to news that was already pretty much expected from the get-go? This is what we in the business (the business of snarky blogging, if you’re curious) call an overreaction. It’d be a decent joke if it made any sense whatsoever.

Dear ‘Sota: Your GM shoulda traded Rubio’s rights from Day 1. Now he is playing the blame game. You cannot accept this.

I can almost agree with your POV that Kahn is throwing Rubio under the bus, except (a) he kind of has a right to, after the kid backed out on a commitment, and (b) since Rubio released a joint statement with Kahn, one could reasonably conclude his agent reviewed Kahn’s statement beforehand. Either way, who cares. The ‘blame game’ is another bit of hyperbole.

Though not even the most hyperbolic of the tweet. That would be the “day 1” comment. How, exactly, could Kahn have known on the very first day that Rubio would back out on an NBA offer at the 13th hour? Because he offhandedly claimed his mom doesn’t like cold weather? Really? This is getting ridiculous.

Rubio needed big market endorsement $$ to buy out other deal. LA-NY-Chi-Hou-etc. Minny couldn’t work. Kahn messed up. Shoulda flipped him.

First off, we’re the 16th largest market in the country, ahead of Denver, Portland, Sacramento, Orlando, San Antonio and Cleveland, among others. Please ease up on this market talk, for the simple fact that it makes very little sense.

My main point here, however, is that this tweet is even better when you consider two things: Simmons unsuccessfully campaigned to become the Minnesota GM, and has publicly stated his love for Rubio for years, once writing “I love Ricky to the point that I might move to whatever NBA city gets him. You think I’m kidding.”

Now imagine Simmons having the good fortune of being the GM when Rubio fell into Minnesota’s lap. Does anyone on the planet believe he — or anyone else who believes in Rubio’s potential, which I have to presume includes Kahn — would have “flipped him” when he kinda-sorta intimated that Minneapolis isn’t his favorite city on the planet?

Give me a break. If Simmons were in charge, he would have spent his summer alternating between signing every European free agent in the hopes that it would sway Ricky to come over, and sending him mix tapes in envelopes sprayed with his favorite cologne. Dude wouldn’t have flipped him for all the Larry Bird memorabilia on the planet. He, more than anyone, should be able to understand why someone might want to hold on to Rubio at all costs.

Unless that ‘someone’ took a job he wanted, of course. In that case, screw logic.

Hey Kahn defenders: You think a team that’s BLEEDING MONEY wanted to bottom out again, take on bad salaries & wait 2 yrs for Rubio? Really?

Honestly Bill, what the fuck is this even supposed to mean? No one wants to bottom out. Is that what you’re insinuating here? The Kahn started rebuilding just for the hell of it? What, pray tell, were Kahn’s options here? Stick with Foye, Miller, Smith and a bunch of end-of-benchers and hope to god each of his draft picks immediately become all-stars? You’re suggesting they shouldn’t have started over? If so, please come out and say it, because I’d like to openly laugh at this piss-poor attempt at reasoning.

OK, that might have been a bit harsh, and yes, I understand these are just tweets and probably not meant to be analyzed so much. But Simmons has been at the forefront of the Kahn hatred brigade today, so I’m taking it out on him. Forgive me.

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2 Responses to “Rubio does the expected, all hell breaks loose”

  1. B. September 2, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    Great minds think alike … Stop-N-Pop over at Canis Hoopus (top T-Wolves blog, if you care) engaged in a Simmons tweet takedown as well: http://www.canishoopus.com/2009/9/1/1011609/sticky-ricky

  2. lattewarrior September 2, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    If you need further proof that Simmons is completely wrong about the Rubio Situation (not to mention a bit of a jackass), check out his interview with Paul Allen.

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