The Timberwolves saw the face of their franchise in Kevin Love force his way out of town this summer, after he informed them that he wouldn’t re-sign in Minnesota once he became an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Ricky Rubio isn’t at that level as a basketball player, and may never get there. But he could similarly find himself wanting to leave if the team doesn’t come at him with a contract extension he feels is just.
Minnesota has until Oct. 31 to get a deal done, otherwise Rubio will enter restricted free agency once the season is finished. But Timberwolves general manager Milt Newton said recently that he doesn’t feel there’s any rush.
From The Associated Press:
Newton says he and Wolves President Flip Saunders are having regular conversations with Rubio’s agents about an extension. So far, the two sides have not agreed on terms. …
“We’re going to look at the situation the same way we did with Kevin (Love),” Newton said. “We’re going to do the best thing for the organization, and if we can get something done sooner, great. If not, we’re not necessarily in a rush.” …
“Going forward, you want to show good will and trust in a player,” Newton said. “So it can kind of go both ways whether you wait or do something now, but it has to be right for both sides.”
There wasn’t “a rush” to trade Love, because the deadline to do so was still six months away. And, as we’re seeing in Phoenix with restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe, bad blood can develop if time continues to elapse without a deal in place.
The situation with Rubio is a bit different, because while he’s a promising young point guard with dazzling court vision, his shot needs a lot of work before he could be considered valuable enough to offer any type of long-term, serious dollars. And, like Bledsoe, Rubio may find the market for his services much tighter than he or his agent may be envisioning when the time to seek out an offer sheet comes.
Minnesota has most of the leverage, but the risk of alienating a talented player here is real. If Rubio is absolutely in the franchise’s plans for the future, trying to get something done before Rubio amasses a highlight reel filled with him throwing lobs to Andrew Wiggins might be the best course of action.