Rubio To Stay In Spain

Some day in the distant future, when Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and LeBron James are considered over-the-hill, the Washington Wizards may regret having traded the rights to the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA draft, which eventually turned out to be Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio. But the time to second guess Ernie Grunfeld for using that selection to acquire Mike Miller and Randy Foye from Minnesota will have to be on hold until at least 2011 because Ru-Ru-Rubio won't be coming to the NBA this season or next season.


Aren't you glad I'm not the Wizards' problem? (Photo by Jennifer Potttheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)

ESPN.com and Yahoo! Sports are both reporting that Rubio's former club, DKV Joventut, agreed to trade his rights his Regal FC Barcelona, which worked out a buyout with Rubio worth a reported $5.28 million. Barcelona also signed the 18-year-old Pete Maravich look-alike to a six-year contract that won't allow him to leave until the summer of 2011. Even then, there still is no guarantee that Rubio will be able join the Timberwolves. The move gives some closure to the greatest soap opera in the NBA this summer and puts more egg on the face of a Timberwolves franchise that has been dealing with blunder upon blunder in recent years (the Joe Smith fiasco, firing Flip Saunders, trading Kevin Garnett).

David Kahn, the Timberwolves' president of basketball operations, was in Barcelona in hopes of getting Rubio to play for Minnesota this season. Kahn, Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, and Joventut President Jordi Villacampa had dinner over the weekend in hopes of freeing Rubio but NBA rules only allow teams to pay $500,000 toward a buyout (Rubio's buyout was worth $8.13 million for both this summer and next summer). Kahn said all along that he was willing to wait two seasons, if necessary, for Rubio to play for the Timberwolves. Minnesota drafted Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn with the sixth pick as an insurance policy.

I know that Grunfeld was a fan of Rubio, but can you imagine how disastrous it would have been for the Wizards to have a 19-win season, get the fifth pick and wind up with a player who couldn't come to the United States for two years? Try explaining that to someone like Antawn Jamison, who would be 35 and entering the final season of his contract at that point.

A league source told me this summer that Grunfeld was well aware of the difficulty in getting Rubio out of his outlandish buyout and into an NBA uniform this season. That, combined with Fegan's apprehension about having Rubio play alongside Gilbert Arenas (which suddenly is no longer a concern) made it imperative for Grunfeld to get something for that pick right now (although few expected Rubio to slip all the way to fifth).

The only question now -- which can be answered somewhat this season -- is, did Grunfeld get enough for No. 5? Either way, it's really not worth debating Foye and Miller vs. nothing this season. Grunfeld did what he had to do to make the Wizards competitive while Arenas, Jamison and Caron Butler still have something left to offer the franchise.

By Michael Lee |  August 31, 2009; 9:35 PM ET
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Mike good post! QUICK QUESTION. How is Gilbert doing? I was kind of concern why he didn't play on the Arizona basketball game event (sorry I forgot the name of the event).

Posted by: noucinfk91 | August 31, 2009 9:57 PM

Score yet another one for Ernie. Good call, ace! Fegan, I sure hope you got nothing out of the Barcelona deal. Rubio could have been convinced to play in DC, but with your attitude, I was glad to see us treat him like poison ivy.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 31, 2009 10:11 PM

I'm sure Ernie isn't losing any sleep over not drafting Rubio. He saw this coming all along and yet he was hammered by everyone for not taking the kid anyway. Everyone would have been all over Ernie if he drafted him and this occurred. Can't always play the what if game.

Posted by: thecomedian2 | August 31, 2009 10:26 PM

I think it's no contest. The top five picks of the draft -- including Rubio -- aren't worth what Foye and Miller bring to the table this year. I hope they both play well and decide Washington is the place to be, with a solid core of players who can win an NBA championship.

Posted by: zinger1 | August 31, 2009 10:38 PM

Right now it's looking like the Wizards got Miller and Foye for one season in exchange for Songaila. Maybe EG would have used the #5 pick on someone other than Rubio if he'd kept the pick, but it's hard to fault the trade at this point. They got two players who can contribute immediately and freed up some cap space this year and next year.

Posted by: JPRS | August 31, 2009 10:39 PM

Well, with the exception of Blake Griffin. He would have been the best choice, if the Wiz had been lucky.

Posted by: zinger1 | August 31, 2009 10:40 PM

Weren't we told that Grunfeld preferred James Harden to Rubio?

If you look at the players who went after Ricky -- Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry, Jordan Hill -- they've all got talent, and one of them could be a star. But none was a particularly good fit for the win-now Wiz. Flynn is fast but short, Curry can shoot but isn't much on defense, Hill is just plain raw. Plus Washington has a bunch of talented young guys already -- what the Wiz need is for some of them to produce.

Looks at the moment like a smart trade. As several folks have pointed out, it still might not be enough to put the club into the playoffs. But we're better than at the end of last season.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 31, 2009 11:36 PM

Just to be fair in terms of JPRS's comment, I think you could say we traded Songalia for Foye indefinitely and Miller for one year. I think Miller will likely leave in a year (as we'll be low on cash and hopefully some of the young guys will relegate him to 11th man status). But Foye will be a restricted free agent and they rarely leave their teams, especially when they're high draft picks. See, for example, Nate Robinson: the Knicks don't even want him anymore, he is a decent player and good for the box office and yet he still isn't getting any offers from other teams. In fact, Shelden Williams is about the only restricted f.a./former lottery pick who didn't stay with his team, and that's because he is S-O-R-R-Y. I'd say there's a 99% chance Foye will re-sign with the Wizards. (I'm sure they'll toy with him a bit and then sign him at the end, like teams have been doing with Restricted free agents recently. I think Foye will be our backcourt 6th man for as long as we have Gilbert.

Posted by: Urnesto | August 31, 2009 11:54 PM

Looks at the moment like a smart trade. As several folks have pointed out, it still might not be enough to put the club into the playoffs. But we're better than at the end of last season.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 31, 2009 11:36 PM
_______

You make a typo here? This is a playoff team barring a catastrophe. "Might not be enough" - What?

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 31, 2009 11:54 PM

I think Rubio becomes a free agent after three years, so it's unlikely he'll ever play for Minnesota. The NBA really needs to address the issue of buyouts. Hopefully, we'll see a Rubio Rule in the next CBA. I don't see why teams shouldn't be able to pay the complete buyout if they want. The money could even go against the cap. Right now all the $500,000 limit is doing is keeping quality players overseas and providing paychecks for guys like Ricky Davis.

Posted by: djnnnou | September 1, 2009 12:21 AM

I'm really sick of the assumption that the first option was Rubio and any other option has to be better than the legend of Rubio.

Contract situations aside, getting Miller and Foye is better for this upcoming season than anyone in the draft outside of maybe Blake Griffin. Period. End of story.

For what might have been an all-star in 3-4 years when the Arenas/Butler/Jamison window is closed does not matter. Teams can rebuild/reload quickly once it's time to blow something up, but that's not what Ernie was doing.

Ernie was looking for the best pieces to fit around the existing core and so Miller and Foye (and Oberto for that matter) are absolutely perfect fits.

Ernie Grunfeld nailed and nothing Rubio does in 2011 or thereafter will have any chance to change that.

Goodness, so much hype for an 18 year old who doesn't start or average double figures.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | September 1, 2009 12:34 AM

The kid is only 18 years old, he'll be 20 when he comes to the NBA, and he still has trade value.

If Grunfeld traded for an all-star that would be another story, but Mike Miller and Randy Foye aren't very exciting.

Posted by: twigmuffin | September 1, 2009 12:36 AM

Don't think Twolves have egg on their face. Look at San Antonio. Drafted David Robinson and had to wait two years. Boston drafted Bird and had to wait a year. I think Twolves will be ok with Flynn. And, Rubio will likely be more vauable in a couple years.

Posted by: redqid | September 1, 2009 12:49 AM

Ricky who?

I'm sick of all the hype surrounding this punk kid, and all the idiots saying he's not a gamble.

Europeans are NOT a sure thing. None of them have been. It's a different game. It will take a few years before Rubio can even play well, and thats a couple years AFTER 2011.

He still can't even shoot, and he'll be a liability when defenders can leave him wide open.

Screw Rubio. I'd take Miller+Foye-Pech-Etan over RUBIO any freakin' day. Have we lost our senses? Well done Ernie. Blessing in disguise.

Posted by: iamse7en | September 1, 2009 1:39 AM

The kid is only 18 years old, he'll be 20 when he comes to the NBA, and he still has trade value.

If Grunfeld traded for an all-star that would be another story, but Mike Miller and Randy Foye aren't very exciting.

Posted by: twigmuffin | September 1, 2009 12:36
AM
____

How does trade value (assuming this is actually true) in a couple of years help this team now? The answer: it doesn't.

A young, upcoming, improving, former 5th pick of the draft is not exciting?

A former rookie of the year, 6th man of the year, and one of the best pure shooters in the league is not exciting?

Both for an unproven draft pick who won't play in the NBA for two seasons is not exciting?

Wow...you must not have a pulse.

I predicted correctly before the draft that if we did not get Blake in the draft we would trade our pick and clear some contracts. I had no idea we would hit a grand slam. And you don't think it is exciting? This move is up there with Caron for Kwame in my book and another reason why EG should be GM for life.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 1, 2009 2:21 AM

"You make a typo here? This is a playoff team barring a catastrophe. "Might not be enough" - What?Posted by: rphilli721"

Catastrophes -- something Wiz fans have been acquainted with.

The team won 19 games. I haven't forgotten that.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 1, 2009 2:57 AM

rest easy - either the Wizards make the playoffs with certainty, or we are talking about a second consecutive year of injuries that will go down in history as the epitomy of bad luck for a team. The Wizards took a chance last year with a young bench and allstar team leader returning from an injury, and they did get burned by that. This year, through increased experience and key moves, they are NOT entering the season with similar gambles. 19 games is completely irrelevant this season. If they are below the playoffs, there will be a 2009/2010 history of multiple injuries, or several of these guys careers will be marked as "not NBA caliber". The odds of the first is low, the second is highly unlikely.
Reserve your playoff tickets now.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | September 1, 2009 6:56 AM

The minute the Wiz didn't get the top pick, Ernie made the right choice. There was no other player in the draft that would've made an IMMEDIATE impact! Even though I wasn't in love with the trade at first (I still feel we gave up too much size), as always, Ernie knows best.

Posted by: CBell29 | September 1, 2009 7:06 AM

"..as always, Ernie knows best."

Umm, no he doesn't.

I never really saw what everyone was talking about with Rubio anyway. You're talking about an 18 year old kid who *could* develope into a fine player 5 years down the road?

EG is the same guy who re-signed Etan Thomas to that boner of a deal ya know?

The Wiz pretty much had no choice in this past draft...all or nothing. Again, I have never been enamored with Rubio like a lot of other people have.

Stay in Europe for all I care Rubio. You need the NBA more then it needs you.

Juan Carlos Navarro the 2nd. :P

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | September 1, 2009 8:15 AM

i always agreed with EG's decision to bypass the first round but there were a lot of cheap, quality players in the second round. Cunningham from Nova. Maybe even Summers from Gtown

Posted by: ryjufox3 | September 1, 2009 8:17 AM

The kid is only 18 years old, he'll be 20 when he comes to the NBA, and he still has trade value.

If Grunfeld traded for an all-star that would be another story, but Mike Miller and Randy Foye aren't very exciting.

Yeah you lose leverage when a team knows you have to trade someone. Oh my God I can hear it now...if we would've drafted Rubio and traded him? CHEAP ABE! BLAH BLAH BLAH.

I'm willing to bet you've never seen Randy Foye play.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 1, 2009 8:22 AM

EG says "How you like me now?" Agree with all that said better to get two NBA ready proven players than Rubio in 3 years or another unpolished rook.

Posted by: Rocky420 | September 1, 2009 8:53 AM

The hype over Rubio is unbelievable. People tripping over themselves to make excuses for the fact he: can't shoot, is rail thin with beanpole shoulders, isn't quick, and has average at best athleticism.

Why so many excuses for a player so obviously lacking the usual skillset for his position? Because he throws no-look passes in a cement shoe league?

Thank Jeebus Ernie didnt fall for this one, there is no reason to think Foye isn't already better than Rubio...and we dont have to wait 2 more years on him either.

Posted by: divi3 | September 1, 2009 9:05 AM

The trade of pick 5 for MM and AF is well calculated by EG. He has corrected all the mistakes he made in the past 3 years.
1/ He understand the difficulty of landing RR and convinced him self that he could not get a player from the draft that help the team right away .
2/By trading the contract of sangalia , he get a good flexibility for 2010-11. signing BH,CB will be achievable
3/ He resolved the 3 point shooting problem and by having flip he also had the right people to improve perimeter defense.
As i said it before washington is one haypotetical big man away to be a real contender for shampionship.
4/He also calculated potential injury problems and acquire the right players, if Arenas is out foye will take over, if CB is out MM is capable of replacing him.Several years ago injuries to CB and GA put us from #1 in the east to #8.This will not repeat this year.Washigton will still be a play off team with the loss of one or two of our three best players.

Posted by: gtefferra | September 1, 2009 9:17 AM

Contract situations aside, getting Miller and Foye is better for this upcoming season than anyone in the draft outside of maybe Blake Griffin. Period. End of story.

-----

^^ exactly! EG is a thief... this trade is AS lopsided as the KBrown for Butler trade (seriously). People who watch a lot of NBA basketball (and I consider myself one of those), realize this Wizards team has the potential to be very VERY good...that's why those in the know are writing a ton of positive things about the Wiz... That said, it's not about buzz, its about wins and Miller/Foye will help us in the win category. Just relax and enjoy the ride...

Posted by: cedric_lockhart | September 1, 2009 9:44 AM

Yeah you lose leverage when a team knows you have to trade someone. Oh my God I can hear it now...if we would've drafted Rubio and traded him? CHEAP ABE! BLAH BLAH BLAH.

I'm willing to bet you've never seen Randy Foye play.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 1, 2009 8:22 AM

I lived in Radnor, PA when Foye was at Villanova and he was a good player. Minn found out he's no Brandon Roy who he was traded for! You are talking about two players who helped Minn win 22 games last year and now everyone thins because Ernie told them they are the players that will get this team to the promise land?

Who knows maybe the Wizards could have drafted someone else or made a better trade like the Spurs did to get Richard Jefferson.

Wait I forgot you are one of the people on here that can't think for themselves, you are only capable of following the party line.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 1, 2009 9:50 AM

"You make a typo here? This is a playoff team barring a catastrophe. "Might not be enough" - What?"

There's nothing close to a guarantee of that. On paper do they have the talent to make the playoffs? Sure. But (A) the games aren't played on paper and (B) more than one team with talent has failed to make the playoffs in the past. The only thing we know for sure is that they won 19 games last season. Blame it on about injuries, coaching, or whatever else, but the climb from there to the playoffs is a long, steep one and there's no guarantee that they'll make it over the top.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 10:36 AM

I lived in Radnor, PA when Foye was at Villanova and he was a good player. Minn found out he's no Brandon Roy who he was traded for! You are talking about two players who helped Minn win 22 games last year and now everyone thins because Ernie told them they are the players that will get this team to the promise land?

Who knows maybe the Wizards could have drafted someone else or made a better trade like the Spurs did to get Richard Jefferson.

Wait I forgot you are one of the people on here that can't think for themselves, you are only capable of following the party line.

Blah, blah, blah.
It's my opinion. I don't give a damn about a party line. Draft who? Answer your own retarded question. Trade for who? Who made a trade for someone better? Answer that.

Minnesota is a team with much less talent than the Wizards. Who is lined up to trade for Rubio now that they know he isn't coming? Leverage FAIL.

Yeah it would've been nice to draft a player that can't play for two years and go into the season with the same roster with questions still about Gil, DS and Haywood. What sense are you making.

Maybe you should use logic and reason instead of always wanting to be on the Anti-everything the Wizards do side.

What does Brandon Roy have to do with it?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 1, 2009 10:56 AM

"If Grunfeld traded for an all-star that would be another story, but Mike Miller and Randy Foye aren't very exciting. "

I'll take capable, effective, and productive over exciting any day.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 10:57 AM

I'll take capable, effective, and productive over exciting any day.

Agreed.
Harold Miner was exciting.
J.R. Rider too.
Even Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady.

You see what that amounts to.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 1, 2009 11:04 AM

Did Grunfeld get enough for the No 5 pick? Yes and no. Foye and Miller are fine. But it would have been nice to have forced them to accept Mike James and maybe another bench warmer.

Posted by: nadeemsx | September 1, 2009 11:11 AM

Once the Wiz didn't get the No. 1 pick which would have resulted in Blake Griffin, the trade of the No. 5 became a no-brainer. The fact that Rubio's buy-out was a major hurdle for any team who drafted him makes Ernie look even better for getting two productive, talented players who should fit in right away with the Wiz and address some of our glaring needs for better 3-point shooting and a legit backup PG for Arenas.

Chances are also 50/50 that Rubio won't develop over the next two years while playing in Europe as anticipated and Minnesota's trade leverage will dwindle once he's able to buyout of his new contract. I think Minnesota drafted Flynn knowing that Rubio probably wouldn't even be an option to play here for at least 2 years. Now they can try out Flynn at PG for two years and see if he's the answer before trying to sign Rubio. My gut tells me that Rubio will never appear in a Minnesota uniform and his agent Fegan will use his leverage to get a trade to a team where he wants to play. My prediction is that he ends up in New York, LA, or some other larger market through a trade.

Posted by: wizfan89 | September 1, 2009 11:11 AM

It's my opinion. I don't give a damn about a party line. Draft who? Answer your own retarded question. Trade for who? Who made a trade for someone better? Answer that.

The Spurs did when they traded for Richard Jefferson.

What does Brandon Roy have to do with it?

Minn traded Roy for Foye and Roy is an all star while Foye is a guy who scored 16 points on a team that won 22 games.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 1, 2009 10:56 AM

I'll take capable, effective, and productive over exciting any day.

Agreed.
Harold Miner was exciting.
J.R. Rider too.
Even Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady.

You see what that amounts to.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 1, 2009 11:04 AM

I guess you and kal wouldn't want MJ, Kobe and/or D. Wilkens?

You forgot to add Gil to your list of exciting players who haven’t amounted to anything.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 1, 2009 11:43 AM

So does Wilbon write anything now about how asinine his story was on Grunfeld passing up the chance to draft Rubio?? Of course he doesn't, because he is a horrible reporter who does nothing but make broad sweeping generalizations, and continually state and argue the obvious.

Posted by: tmilt27@aol.com | September 1, 2009 12:00 PM

"I guess you and kal wouldn't want MJ, Kobe and/or D. Wilkens?"


One of these things is not like the others.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 12:00 PM

Wilbon is often entertaining as long as you aren't interested in sound, unbiased, logical reasoning. His commentary is often ruled by his emotions and preconceptions.

My favorite was when the Wiz traded Ben Wallace for Ike Austin. He wrote a long piece praising the deal, saying that Austin was exactly the kind of player the Wiz needed and that Wallace basically wouldn't amount to much or be a real impact player.

Oops.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 12:04 PM

someone should tell wilbon that after being mum prior to the draft and then writing an article excoriating the wiz for not selecting the spanish pistol pete who fell to 5 he is officially out of touch with all things dc and move on, wasn't that his plan anyway? Seriously though you have no heart to rip a squad after offering not shred of advice prior to the draft and then writing a woe is the franchise article claiming this pre pubescent point guard was the savior

Posted by: bford1kb | September 1, 2009 12:11 PM

...Wilbon has got to be Tony's biggest regret or his biggest blindspot.

Posted by: oddjob2 | September 2, 2009 12:23 AM

i think contract issues are a ruse. this kid doesn't wanna play at minnesota and obviously overestimates his game. this kid is a goofball. listen to him: "Going to Minnesota would have just complicated my life a lot. It was a risk and I didn't see it so clearly. My priority was the NBA and it was impossible for the Minnesota Timberwolves to pay my buyout clause, so I wanted to stay home." yeah right: what happened is common sense got the better part of valor. he realized he ain't what summa yawl think he is and decided to stay and try to get some money after he works on his game. cuz if he had come here this year, every guard in the nba would have used him like toilet paper or a blood cloth. IF he made a roster. that aside, what really upsets me is that gillete commercial sandwiching this punk btwn derek jeter and tiger. as if he really is some kind of master of his trade. what he is is another GWH being masqueraded as a phenom. and he doesn't DESERVE it. those guys had to WORK to get where they are.

Posted by: dcjazzman | September 3, 2009 1:12 AM

somebody wrote "If Grunfeld traded for an all-star that would be another story, but Mike Miller and Randy Foye aren't very exciting." not very exciting? we don't need exciting, we need effective? that's the problem with some of you rubio (and colt) fans: you're all caught up with excitement and flair and verve or whatever else some of us used to call hotdogging it. both those guys can play and will help this team next season. rubio will still sit a bench two or three years from now.

Posted by: dcjazzman | September 3, 2009 1:47 AM

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