After two years of waiting, flamboyant Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio(notes) has agreed to join the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2011-12 season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night.
Rubio reached a deal on Tuesday, sources said.
Rubio, the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA draft, has been playing for Regal Barcelona of the Spanish ACB League for the past two seasons. It’s likely that the deal won’t be announced until Rubio, 20, finishes his season in the Euroleague playoffs later this month.
He’s expected to immediately contend for the Wolves' starting point guard job, and team general manager David Kahn plans for the point guard to be a cornerstone of Minnesota’s future.
Once considered one of the world’s most spectacular young amateurs, Rubio’s meteoric rise has cooled considerably the past two seasons with Regal Barcelona, although scouts believe he’ll benefit from joining a more wide open NBA game. Nevertheless, Rubio has averaged 6.5 points and 3.2 assists in 20 regular-season Euroleague games. A foot injury slowed him this season.
Rubio nearly agreed to join the Wolves in 2009, but the burden of a $6 million buyout on his contract kept him in Europe for two more seasons.
Rubio turned pro as a 14-year-old in Spain, and became one of Europe’s most hyped young players ever.
For Rubio to be paid under the current rookie wage scale, he had a deadline of Tuesday to reach an agreement with Minnesota. This would guarantee Rubio a nearly $3.5 million rookie salary as the fifth pick, and prevent him from losing future earnings should the league and union eventually agree on a more restrictive rookie wage scale.
Dan Barreiro of KFAN radio in Minneapolis also reported the agreement.