Spaniard Ricky Rubio joins Timberwolves
MADRID—Highly-rated Spanish guard Ricky Rubio will quit Barcelona and play for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA next season, the Catalan club announced on Friday.
The 20-year-old Rubio, who made his Spanish league debut at the age of 14, was drafted by the Wolves in the 2009 NBA Draft but has spent the last two years at Barcelona, crowned Spanish champions on Tuesday.
While the talented Spaniard’s arrival in the NBA has been long anticipated, Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said he thought Rubio’s decision to postpone his move across the Atlantic was a smart move.
“I think Ricky felt two years ago that he wanted two more years of seasoning in the Spanish League and at the age of 18, he could use another two years,” Kahn said in an article on the team’s website.
“I think that in hindsight, he probably made a wise decision, not only for him, but probably for us too.”
Kahn said the team had stayed in close contact with Rubio, and have a strong relationship with their new player, who will arrive bigger and stronger than he was in 2009.
“You can see a significant change in both his upper and lower body and I think he has grown an inch,” Kahn said. “He looked to me to be at least an inch taller when we saw him last in May, so from a body standpoint and certainly a maturity standpoint in every facet, these past two years have been good for him.”
The Timberwolves plan to formally introduce their new signing on Tuesday.
In the meantime, they celebrated the deal with a burst of Spanish on their website and a special No. 9 ticket package — where fans can buy a pair of season tickets for the upcoming season for $9 per game.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.