Ricky Rubio sounds like a guy going to put off NBA debut

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Despite what Timberwolves brass has insisted, it has never made sense for Ricky Rubio to leave Barcelona and come to the NBA next season. Because it doesn’t make sense to walk into a likely lockout that could cost games. Why leave one of the top teams in Europe, Barcelona, where you are a rock star, to come here and potentially not get paid and have no place to play?

Sounds like he is willing to wait it out.

In an interview with Spanish sports publication Marca he hinted he might wait and that the lockout will be a factor when he makes his decision (via Hoopshype, which did the translation of the quote as well).

“I do have interest in the NBA, but not as in right away…”

“I signed a six-year contract with a buyout option after the second season. If I leave this year I would have to pay an amount of money and that’s it. It’s a unilateral decision that I have to make, although if I had to leave at any time, I would talk to the club and the NBA franchise, which is currently Minnesota…”

“Going to the NBA is a dream; every good Spanish player wants to follow Gasol’s steps because he’s a role model…”

This is a question of when, not if. He will come to the NBA someday. But when matters. Minnesota is trying to sell hope and Rubio is a key part of that, so they speak of how good their relationship is and how he is coming soon.

If you read the entire article (via Google translation as we did), Rubio sounds patient. He has to make a decision on buying out his contract before the July 1 deadline on when the NBA players and owners must come to a deal or a lockout starts. And even the optimistic Jared Dudley says there is a 90 percent chance of a lockout. Plus, remember that the Timberwolves can only pay $500,000 of the $1.4 million buyout — the rest comes out of Rubio’s pocket.

It’s unclear what the buyout provision is in future years, that also will be a factor, although that is something that could be renegotiated.

DeMarcus Cousins answers first several Kings-related questions same way (video)

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DeMarcus Cousins had a bitter exit from the Kings, but that won’t be the last they see of him.

Cousins’ Pelicans will host Sacramento tomorrow night.

Not that Cousins rushed to talk about the matchup.

Justin Verrier of ESPN:

Cousins is pretty funny when joking with the media, and his smile is contagious. Just listen to all the laughs Cousins generates as he goes through his shtick.

Bonus points to Cousins for eventually breaking down and providing real answers. Some of his relationships in Sacramento were clearly meaningful to him, and he wanted to acknowledge those — even if he’d prefer just to get past this awkward game and all the talk it invites.

Report: Sweet-shooting 7-footer Lauri Markkanen leaving Arizona for NBA draft

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Lauri Markkanen is 7-foot and made 42% of his 3-pointers this season.

That combination alone will have NBA teams drooling, and the Arizona freshman will capitalize.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is declaring for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent, multiple sources told Scout.

Markkanen seems pretty certain to get picked in the lottery, likely in the top 10.

Calling him a good shooter for his height undersells him. It’s not just he shoots so efficiently from deep, it’s that he can generate 3-pointers in so many ways — pick-and-pops, spot-ups, off off-ball screens and even running pick-and-rolls himself. Having the height to shoot over defenders is his most noticeable asset, but don’t undersell his mobility.

Markkanen also finishes well at the rim and offensively rebounds at extremely impressive clip for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter. Those interior skills instill belief he will eventually become a suitable defender.

There are a couple red flags. He’s old for a freshman, turning 20 before the draft. He leaves plenty to be desired defensively, especially due to his lack of strength.

But his size and shooting are tantalizing. That’s plenty for now.

Dwyane Wade wowed by jumping, around-the-back alley-oop pass in McDonald’s All-American Game (video)

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Watch for Collin Sexton in the 2018 NBA draft.

In the meantime, the Alabama commit had all eyes — include Dwyane Wade‘s — on him with this pass in the McDonald’s All-American Game last night.

Carmelo Anthony on shrinking role with Knicks: ‘I see the writing on the wall… I’m at peace with that’

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Carmelo Anthony scored just nine points on 12 shots in the Knicks loss to the Heat last night — well below his season averages of 22 points on 19 shots per game.

Anthony, via Ian Begley of ESPN:

“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” Anthony said late Wednesday night. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”

Is Anthony talking about just the Knicks’ final dozen games of this season, when they’re clearly interesting in testing less-proven players? Or is he referring to his entire tenure in New York?

Anthony has said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, and they’ll reportedly try again to trade him this offseason. Perhaps, this is Anthony indicating he’s warming up to the idea of allowing a trade.

Anthony’s and Kristaps Porzingis‘ timelines are barely compatible, if at all. It’d make sense for the Knicks to go in a different direction.

Could Anthony be at peace with that?