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Kahn: After Draft Night, I Thought Rubio Was A Year Or 2 Away

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In David Kahn’s words, when he drafted Ricky Rubio, he knew there was an extremely strong possibility that the 18-year-old would continue to play basketball in Europe for at least a couple years.  He contends below in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show that he would make the same decisions in the draft room if he knew what he knows now.  I find it extremely hard to believe that he would take Jonny Flynn and Rubio back to back if one of those guys wasn’t coming to Minnesota.  It is likely that Rubio will one day don an NBA jersey, but truthfully, who knows?  Kahn is taking a chance with the future of a franchise that has had its share of rocky adventures the past several years.  Kahn discussed that Ricky was only coming to the U.S. immediately if he was taken top 2, why he would do it all over again, and that Rubio’s family played a large decision in keeping him in Spain.

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Why did Rubio change his mind?

“Teenagers, Dan, teenagers, ya know?  If anybody’s ever had teenagers, there are twists and turns.  When we took Ricky, we acknowledged right off the bat it may be a year or two away, and I actually, after draft night thought it would be a would be a year or two, but he started to send us some signals during the summer that maybe we was interested in accelerating the path.  And, you once you sort of have that signal, I think you owe it to the franchise to pour some energy in to it.  We certainly poured some energy in to this summer, you know, it was very complicated, but at the end of the day, I think Ricky and his family, and I underline the word family, I think just at 18 years of age, I think the family felt it was a still little early for him to start.”

When can he come to the U.S.?

“The way his contract reads, there will be no buyout provision after the first year because Barcelona paid so much money, in fact, I think it may be the largest transfer ever for a basketball player in Europe from club to club.  And, because they paid so much they insisted that there be no buyout after the first year, but there is a buyout starting after the second season.  And, that doesn’t mean of course if after the first season Ricky couldn’t re-approach them.  I mean, as I’ve learned this summer, there’s a lot of things that can be kind of made nebulous if you want to make them nebulous.  The plan is that he would be here for two years and join us in two years.”

He seemed like he wanted to come over on draft day and now this.  What happened?

“I can only give you what I’ve been told by his agent, Dan Fegan.  When they came in to the draft, they were only going to definitely come over, definitely, if he was top 2.  If he wasn’t top 2, there was a consideration especially if he was 3 that he might come over because of implications with his Nike deal.  But, actually Dan told me that night, when we made the selection that night, Dan was very clear: ‘He’s not coming this year.’  And, yes, as I’ve shared in the past, we still feel like it was the right thing to do.  I think what changed was that he reconsidered and it was him that came to us and said, ‘You know, I am giving some thought to coming over now,’ and he was having problems, as many people probably know, with his club team, the one that had his contract controlled the buyout.  And, I think he was starting to worry a little bit during the summer that he may not have a place to go.”

If you could do it all over again, would you?

“Absolutely, he’s 18.  And, so two years from now, he’s 20, God forbid, and his whole career will still be in front of him.  When you’re in my position, as you probably know, you get a lot of advice, solicited and unsolicited, and I didn’t keep any kind of accurate track, but my sense is that you could probably say it was 50/50.  50% of the people thought it would be a mistake to bring him over now because of his age, 50% probably thought you should bring him over now because you can develop him under your own watch.”

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