Regal Barcelona Rumors

For two years the Minnesota Timberwolves have been very patient and committed in their pursuit of Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, who they selected fifth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. They’ve passed on trade offers for his draft rights, having faith that he would eventually sign with them. Finally, the wait is almost over. According to sources the Timberwolves are as optimistic as they’ve ever been that Rubio will be joining them for the 2011-2012 season. Signing Rubio this offseason has been Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn’s plan for over a year and he’s on the verge of seeing it through. Nothing is signed or finalized yet, but it should be in the coming weeks.
If Rubio does indeed sign as expected, point guard Jonny Flynn’s days in Minnesota are numbered. Sources also indicated to HOOPSWORLD that Flynn is almost sure to be traded in that case with the Toronto Raptors being one of the most probable destinations. There could be some competition for his services as the Charlotte Bobcats and Detroit Pistons could also use some help at the lead guard spot. Flynn is a first-class individual with incredible character, but he hasn’t produced as hoped in Minnesota and Rubio’s arrival makes him expendable. At the age of 22 he still has some upside and his price tag is not very high at all.
Kahn, assistant general manager Tony Ronzone and international scout Pete Philo will be in Spain to visit draft prospects Nemanja Bjelica, Paolao Prestes and Henk Norel — all of whom are with Spanish clubs — and no doubt, but perhaps discretely, will continue discussions with Rubio and his camp. They’ll also scout a tournament of top European junior players as well while they’re there. Ronzone and Philo went to Spain in February to expand the dialogue between the two parties and a Wolves representative met recently with Rubio’s American agent in Los Angeles. The Wolves already have much invested in Rubio — he alone is the only hope to save a 2009 draft in which they had four first-round picks that so far has delivered Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington and Martell Webster (obtained by trading a 2010 pick they acquired by trading 2009’s 18th overall pick to Denver). Kahn and Ronzone remained convinced that Rubio, despite his regression in European play, will thrive in a NBA game that is played at a faster pace and allows players — particularly point guards who, because of NBA rules, can’t be touched — more freedom.
A Timberwolves contingent led by David Kahn are spending the next week in Spain for this weekend’s Euroleague Final Four and to continue work they intend will get Ricky Rubio signed to a NBA contract within a month. Rubio’s Regal Barcelona team never made it to the Final Four scheduled for his hometown this year because it got beat out by Greece’s Panathinaikos team in a playoff series in March. But his team still has Spanish league play left during a European season that, like the NBA, never seems to end.
Marc Mundet: Otis Howard, Orlando GM to RAC1: “Yes. Yes, we are interested in (Fran Vazquez). We have been in contact with all of his representation. He has done a good job. His game has developed and he has developed as a young man, that is probably the biggest thing other than his basketball game right now. He’ll fit in with what we do here pretty good. For us right now he would be a very good addition to a back-up for Dwight at the five spot. He’s a shot blocker, he can shoot the ball from 17-18 feet and defend for us”.