Ricky Rubio is going to be the Minnesota Timberwolves point guard next season. Well, providing there is a next season.
Multiple sources are now reporting that Rubio, the 20-year-old Spanish phenom point guard drafted by the Timberwolves two years ago, has reached a deal to play in the NBA. That means he and Minnesota will pay a $1.2 million buyout of his deal with Barcelona (the Timberwolves can only pay $500,000 of that).
The interesting thing is he agreed to terms based on the rookie scale under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. That means Rubio will take a pay cut to come to the NBA and is locked into that scale for years. (Tiago Splitter waited out what would have been the first years of his rookie deal and came over at a higher salary. That seemed his path, but he must have feared what could come with a new CBA more than he did the current deal.)
If there is a lockout that stretches into the season, Rubio could continue to play for Barcelona until he had to come stateside, according to the reports.
A couple years ago Rubio was maybe the most talked about young player on the planet. He held his own against Team USA in the Olympic Gold Medal game, when he was just 18. He has a great feel for the game and can be an amazing passer. But his shot needs a lot of work. A lot. Still, Rubio’s feel for the game paired with Kevin Love could be the cornerstone of a very good Minnesota team down the line.
This signing raises two questions: One is how does Rubio fit in with an already full backcourt that includes Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn? Rubio presumably is the starter, but he shot less than 20 percent from three in EuroLeague and struggled shooting in general. If you thought teams sagged of Rajon Rondo, wait to see how Rubio is treated at first, until he proves he can shoot. Does Ridnour or Flynn get moved?
The other question is what does this mean for coach Kurt Rambis. He runs a modified version of the triangle offense, one that does not require a strong ball handling point guard. In fact, the point guard basically needs to defend and knock down the three. Rubio is a playmaker better suited to the open court. How is he going to mesh with Rambis, or is Rambis not going to go.
HOUSTON (AP) Stephen Curry scored 32 points, Klay Thompson had 25 and the Golden State Warriors built a big lead early and held on for a 113-106 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
The Warriors scored 37 points in the first quarter and never trailed on the way to their eighth straight victory and 60th this season.
Golden State led by eight after a pair of free throws by Curry with just over three minutes left. Patrick Beverley countered with a tip-in layup for Houston, then was fouled when he was knocked to the ground on a screen by Draymond Green seconds later.
James Harden missed a layup on the next possession before Green added a shot on the other end to put the Warriors up 107-99.
Another layup miss by Harden followed, and Curry made a 3-pointer with 1:46 left to send fans streaming to the exits.
There was a scary moment during the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. During a change of possession, Houston’s Trevor Ariza and and Golden State’s James Michael McAdoo got tangled up and fell together on the floor.
McAdoo was under Ariza and wound up getting his head slammed into the hardwood. He was immediately taken off the floor and sent to the locker room.
The NBATV broadcast said McAdoo received stitches but did not test positive for a concussion. He is averaging 8.7 minutes, 2.9 points, and 1.7 rebounds per-game for the Warriors.
Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.
On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.
Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.
Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.
Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.
Still, that is ice cold.
Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.
The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.
With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.
This is what happened next:
Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.