Tagged: ricky rubio

Wolves Fed To The Knicks. Take That, Kahn.

Watching the Knicks beat the Timberwolves so solidly was more than a little cathartic for this Knicks fan. It isn’t that I hate the Timberwolves franchise necessarily, but I do despise their amateurish GM, David Kahn, who single-handedly ruined the Knicks’ offseason (and possibly season). To recap:

  • Kahn selected two point guards in the lottery: Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio. Rubio did not want the Wolves to select him. If Kahn decided to go a different route and try to build a balanced team, maybe he would have selected Jordan Hill or DeMar DeRozan or Terrance Williams. But he selected Flynn and Rubio because he thought he could pawn Rubio off as an asset, even though:
    • Rubio holds all the cards, and always will; and
    • Brandon Jennings would be more valuable as a trade chip. I’m not a Brandon Jennings fan, but he’s here, and he’s “producing”.
  • The result of Kahn’s gambit was not only that Ricky Rubio was off the board for the Knicks, but also that Stephen Curry was snatched up by the Warriors. I’m not saying that the Warriors wouldn’t have taken Curry, who was and still is my preference, anyway, but then at least the Knicks could have come away with Rubio.

Obviously the Knicks’ biggest area of need is point guard, so this summer’s events still sting. And yesterday Kahn, whose Timberwolves have a whopping 9 wins this year, was as out of touch as ever when asked about a potential Rubio trade to the Knicks, asking rhetorically:

…what kind of trade can [the Knicks] possibly propose?

Well I’m not sure what kind of offer Kahn is expecting from around the league. Rubio, as mentioned, holds all the cards, and it’s doubtful he’ll ever wear a T-Wolves jersey. And if he only wants to play for a handful of teams, Kahn is going to have to accept the fact that the offers he gets will be limited to the players on those teams. And no, the Lakers aren’t going to gift the Wolves Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum for Rubio.

But whatever. We’ll let Kahn come to the realization that he botched the draft at his own pace. He’ll realize when the best offer he gets for Rubio is Wilson Chandler or Omri Casspi or Yi.

For now, I’ll just take solace in the fact that the Knicks beat the Wolves last night by 27 points.

Walsh: Curry Was Target, Not Rubio

Peter Vescey asked Donnie Walsh who the Knicks would have drafted had they been able to secure the 5th pick in the draft, “Curry or Ricky Rubio?”

“Curry,” he answered without a pause. “Not only is he a great shooter but he can get his shot on anyone. Opponents look at his baby face and figure they can manhandle him. Meanwhile he tore up every top-rated guard he went up against at our workout, including Tyreke Evans, who might be the best player in the draft next to Blake Griffin.”

Thus Donnie confirmed what was obvious to most people who followed the draft.

Curry has reportedly been lighting up Monta Ellis in practice and has impressed Nellie deeply. The Knicks, of course, had to settle for Jordan Hill, who is clearly a project.

UPDATED: Knicks Soon To Be Sessions’ Only Option?

UPDATE (9/4/09): Well, as I wrote below yesterday, there was a chance that a third team would come along and snatch up Ramon Sessions. Looks like it might be the T-Wolves, who are attempting to save face from the embarrassing and amateurish Ricky Rubio fiasco by sticking it to the Knicks once again after completely ruining their draft.

(Thanks to Auggie for the heads up.)

***

With all but the most deranged and disturbingly obsessed fanboys accepting that Ricky Rubio is staying in Spain for at least the next 2 years, the focus for the New York media and fans can shift back to Ramon Sessions, who has most likely been the Knicks’ target at point guard since Jason Kidd spurned them.

The news out of Los Angeles is that the Clippers have offered Carlos Arroyo a contract to shore up a point guard corps that includes Baron Davis, Sebastian Telfair, and Mardy Collins. The Clippers were the only other team aside from the Knicks rumored to be interested in the Bucks’ restricted free agent.

Unless some other team surprisingly offers Sessions a deal it looks like his options are limited to the Bucks qualifying offer (which would leave him a restricted free agent again next summer, since he has less than 4 years of service in the NBA), and whatever the Knicks want to offer him to be their starter and point guard of the future.

Is Rubio Still Worth A Trade?

Now that Ricky Rubio has officially signed with Barcelona, and does not have an opt-out for the next two years, should the Knicks still consider trading for his rights?

Notwithstanding that Knicks GM Donnie Walsh has made it clear that he hasn’t broached the topic of trading for Rubio since the day after the draft, when the Knicks number 1 target, Stephen Curry got snatched up by the Warriors, there have been reports of an unlikely deal that would send David Lee and Nate Robinson (who would both have to agree to long-term deals to go to Minnesota), and a 1st round pick (2012 would be the earliest 1st rounder the Knicks could trade, since teams cannot trade successive first rounders and the Knicks owe the Jazz their pick this year).

Such a trade would be complicated to say the least.

Tommy Dee speculated a more likely cost for Rubio: Wilson Chandler and then some.

Theoretically, these could both still happen, and the Knicks would get Rubio’s rights whenever he decides to come the league (remember Frederic Weis, Fran Vazquez, and Milos Vujanic, who were all drafted but never came). But keeping in mind that the ultimate goal for the Knicks is to sign LeBron James or some other established star in 2010, are either of these deals worth it?

Both would sap talent from the Knicks in a big way with nothing to show for it but an uncertain set of “rights” to a player who will for the next two years risk injury, while attempting to develop overseas. It is pretty much consensus that the Knicks need to show serious improvement and at least be smelling the playoffs come April for a star to consider the squad a team on the rise, and thus an attractive destination. Losing Chandler, or Nate and Lee for the promise of an unproven player in 2 years will not aid the Knicks in that quest.

All of these assets could instead be flipped for something much more useful to helping the Knicks win now, and thus become more enticing to LeBron James or another star in 2010.

What do you think? Is it better to trade Chandler or other assets for Rubio and sit around for 2 years waiting? Or is it better to trade him for something helpful now? Or, should the Knicks just hold onto him?

Rubio Will Leave Joventut, Arrival In NBA Not Certain

Ricky Rubio plans to leave his former Spanish team, Joventut. This does not necessarily mean he will play in the NBA though. According to ESPN.com (finger point to Virgil) Real Madrid and Barcelona have expressed an interest in the young point guard who many have inaccurately compared to Pistol Pete Maravich. Rubio has stated “I want to play in a winning team, on a team that can achieve many things.” That doesn’t exactly sound like the T-Wolves, but as we know, David Khan is in Spain right now trying to aid a buy-out. He wouldn’t be doing so if he didn’t think he could bring Rubio state-side.

Virgil and Ewing33 asked in the comments of my last post whether this means Flynn might now be available, and Jon said, maybe, but is it worth it?

I think it depends. Would you rather have Flynn (who Walsh didn’t seem too enamored with just prior to the draft), or would you rather have Chandler and Sessions (assuming the Knicks could land him). I’m firmly in favor of the later.

The sticking point with Rubio

Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn appeared on The Dan Patrick Show this morning to discuss the situation with Ricky Rubio. During the interview he made a pretty revealing comment stating that he’d spoken to the Knicks about Rubio but also explaining why we aren’t likely to see Rubio donning orange and blue anytime soon:

“They are very clearly setting themselves to be a major player in free agency in 2010. … There really isn’t anything we could accomplish even if we wanted to,” Kahn said.

If you read between the lines there Kahn is saying that, in order to get a Rubio deal done, the team that trades for him is going to have to take on some bad long-term contracts (some combination of Darius Songaila,  Pecherov or Ryan Gomes). Notably, Kahn acquired two of those three bad long-term contracts in the Wolves’ deal for Rubio so, understandably, he’s looking to off-load that baggage onto any team that trades for Rubio’s rights.

But as we all know, the Knicks, like more than half the league, are trying to get far enough under the cap to be major players during free agency next summer. Consequently, the team seemingly can’t afford to take on any of the Wolves’ bad deals. Nor should they. Many feel that Rubio is something of an unknown quantity and I suspect that Kahn is finding a similar lack of interest in taking on the crap that he acquired with Rubio all around the league.

Kahn has boxed himself into quite a predicament here. Rubio was his first big call and if he doesn’t make a lopsided trade now, he’s going to have egg all over his face. On the other hand, the bet here is that Rubio never shows up in the NBA as long as the Wolves hold his rights.

Given what’s at stake here for Kahn, don’t expect this situation to reach quick resolution.

Kidd a Good Fit?

There have been widespread reports over the past several days concerning the possibility of bringing Jason Kidd back to the NYC area to be the Knicks Point Gurad-of-the-Present. The latest comes from Frank Isola’s blog where he writes:

Jason Kidd is enamored with possibly making Madison Square Garden his permanent home. He likes the idea of helping to turn the Knicks into a winner again. He wants to live in New York and of course he loves Mike D’Antoni’s system. (How come players never say they want to play in Phil Jackson’s system? You know, the one that has won 10 NBA titles.)

I have to say I was very skeptical when these reports first emerged and I still find it hard to believe that Kidd, at this stage of his career, is eager to play in New York for a team that is not ready win as opposed to signing with a contender where he can chase that elusive ring. That said, if it is true, I certainly don’t think it’s a bad thing. Isola goes on:

Anyway, signing Kidd makes sense for so many reasons; the Knicks are devoid of leadership and they desperately need a high quality point guard. More importantly, adding Kidd would increase the Knicks chances of becoming a playoff team next season and thus would make them more attractive to LeBron James next summer.

As for the second part about Lebron, I’m not so sure. I know Lebron is a huge Kidd fan, and would love to play with him now, but Kidd is already 37 years old. I’m not sure he’s such a draw at age 38 for guys looking to win championships, no matter how great he’s been over his career.

Post Draft Therapeutic Rant

After waking up with a draft hangover, the chief emotion I felt was anger. I still feel anger. I’m angry at the Warriors and I’m angry at the Wolves. But I have a really strong feeling that the Knicks are going to land Rubio.

First the Wolves:

The Wolves painted themselves into a corner. Kahn was a little too cute for his own good, I think. He traded Miller and Foye to the Wizards, for, essentially Flynn, since it really seems like Rubio doesn’t plan on putting on a T-Wolves uniform any time in the next two years. I think Kahn knew this before hand but he decided to play hard ball. OK, that happens in sports sometimes. But now Kahn has to sell his fan base and his ownership that he made the right move in gutting his team and taking on extra salary, with just Jonny Flynn to show for it.

I’m sure Kahn thought that he had massive leverage by employing the Rubio strategy but that thought should have been fleeting. It should have given way to reality by now. Here’s a scenario…Rubio stays in Spain, the Wolves play Flynn and McCants Wayne Ellington in the backcourt and continue to be awful, having traded away two nice assets for nothing. I’m sure that’s what Kahn wanted out of this draft, and how he wants to start off his tenure.

I’m sure he’s thinking he is going to trade Rubio to the highest bidder. Guess what though Kahn, everyone knows you’re boxed in. If I’m the Knicks, I’m not offering Chandler, and maybe not even Hill. You can have some money and Nate, put him back there with Flynn for a lilliputian backcourt. Maybe I’d throw in a first rounder, protected into the 20s for the next 10 years.

Maybe some other team will beat that offer, but you aren’t going to have 28 other teams clamoring over Rubio, because he can pull the same “I’m staying in Spain for two years” on any team that comes knocking.

I understand that Kahn wanted to make bold moves as he started out his GM career, but he should have toned it down a little. This Rubio move was amateurish and is liable to get a GM fired. When a prospect says, “I don’t want to play for you”, it’s hard to keep your ego in check, just say OK, and move on, but that is what he should have done. I mean, look what happened to the Grizzlies when Francis said he wouldn’t play in Vancouver. How’d the Yi situation play out for Lenny Harris? Kahn is a rookie and he made a bush, rookie move.

Teams set at point won’t want Rubio, and Rubio will direct himself to one of a handful of teams. I’m sure he’d play for the Knicks, and then maybe both LA teams, Sacramento, Miami, Philly, Houston, Dallas, maybe Oklahoma? Maybe Phoenix? He’d report immediately, something he’s been unwilling to do so far in Minnesota.

Also check out this column.

Even Jennings gets into the act, via Twitter…”What is the T-wolves gon do with all those Guards. about 10 hours ago from Sidekick”

I don’t know Brandon…I don’t know what is they gon do.

Jon: He only has a sidekick?

Now the Warriors:

The Warriors have been dysfunctional for about 24 out of the last 25 years, but with Nelson, they’ve just been insane. Seems to me like they have 8 guards and 4 forwards or something like that. Commentators have said Curry is going to play for an “offensive genius”. It’s funny though, for a genius Don Nelson sure seems like a freaking moron, and sure seems to lose a ton of games. Curry, we really wanted you here. Maybe some day. For now try not to be discouraged as you’re directed to run around in circles playing small forward out on the court with Ellis, Jackson, Maggette and Kelenna Azubuike.

God I hate the Warriors.

Don’t Lose Hope Just Yet

All’s not lost. Two very promising rumors are making the rounds, courtesy of ESPN’s Chad Ford and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Chad Ford: Good news, Knicks fans. Timberwolves GM David Kahn may allow the Knicks to have their guy after all.

As we’ve reported, the Wolves are willing to talk about moving the No. 5 and No. 18 picks for either the No. 2 or No. 3 pick in the draft.

But if they can’t get that done, they have a number of other options. We’ve mentioned Ricky Rubio, James Harden, Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry as possibilities. Add Jonny Flynn to that list as well. Sources say the Wolves are strongly considering Flynn with one of their two lottery picks … if Rubio is off the board.

If they take Flynn, chances are they’ll pass on Curry, giving the Knicks a shot at drafting their target.

* * *

Jonathan Givony: With the top two picks likely falling into place in the form of Blake Griffin and Hasheem Thabeet, all eyes are now on Oklahoma City, to see whether they would take Ricky Rubio or James Harden.

Oklahoma City has already reportedly offered Minnesota to trade the #5 and #6 picks for the #3 selection, where Ricky Rubio is sure to be available for the Timberwolves. Oklahoma City appears to be sending out signals that Rubio is the player they covet at #3, although this could very well be a smokescreen to force Minnesota to trade up if they indeed covet Rubio as much as people think.

Another rumor that is making the rounds is that Oklahoma City may be working on a deal with the New York Knicks that would involve drafting Rubio and then shipping him to the Knicks in July in a sign and trade for David Lee. The tricky part would be coming to terms with Lee on an appropriate contract figure before the pick is made, since technically they are not allowed to negotiate, and Lee likely does not yet know what his true value on the open market.

Still, considering his restricted status, and the fact that there are precious few teams with substantial cap space this summer, Oklahoma City could be a very attractive destination for Lee if his agent can reach a handshake agreement with their front office.

In this scenario, the Knicks would likely select Mike D’Antoni’s favorite, Jordan Hill, with the #8 pick. More on that later.

Narrow Paths To Curry Remain

In the wake of the Minnesota/Washington trade, many fans are in a frenzy, perturbed that the Knicks couldn’t trump the Wolves and land the 5th pick and/or reconciling themselves to a future of Jrue Holiday.

Yes, our hopes may have taken a hit but I’m going to play the optimist because I don’t want to give up the Curry dream.

Did the Knicks chances at getting Curry really take the magnitude of damage that some envision? Or is Donnie Walsh’s trademark patience going to pay off again?

Now, the following assumes that Andy Katz is correct and the Wolves don’t move to trade the 5 and 6 for 2. Note that they might not need to move up to get Rubio…

Scenario 1:

1. Griffin

2. Harden/Thabeet

3. Harden/Thabeet

I think the Thunder are happy with Westbrook at 1 as they should be.

4. Jonny Flynn

The Kings are said to be high on him and disappointed with Rubio.

5. Rubio

6. Evans

Curry refused to work out for the Wolves but he would make sense for them, seeing as how the Miller/Foye trade left them completely bereft of shooting.

7. Hill

Golden State’s first choice has been said to be a big, with PG being a fallback option, though Hahn says the Warriors are “salivating” over an Ellis-Curry backcourt.

8. Curry

Scenario 2:

1. Griffin

2. Harden/Thabeet

3. Harden/Thabeet

The Knicks trade 8 and Mobley for 4 and Kenny Thomas. Or 8 and Chandler, or wait and trade 8 and Nate…getting 4 in return. The Kings, reportedly are high on Flynn, and are the only threat to take him in the top 8.

4. Knicks select Stephen Curry or Ricky Rubio.

If the Wolves are really sold on Rubio maybe the Knicks can extort them for the 5th and 6th picks at this point.

5. Rubio

6. Curry/Evans

7. Hill/Curry

8. Flynn