According to this report, Ricky Rubio declined a contract extension offer worth $43 million over four years from the Minnesota Timberwolves. It’s no secret that Rubio and his agent, Dan Fegan (also represents John Wall and Chandler Parsons, two players who recently got paid) are after the five-year max deal.
Should the Wolves pay Rubio the money he’s after?Honestly, no.
Rubio is one of the best passing point guards in the league, but he is also one of the worst shooters in the league. Rubio is actually on task to be the worst (statistically proven) shooters of the NBA.
Not just in the current league, but THE HISTORY OF THE NBA.
Sure, he throws exciting alley-oops, no-look passes or behind-the-back dishes that find their target no matter how crowded it may be. But teams are starting to notice his lack of shooting, and are clogging the passing lanes, daring him to shoot.
And often, Rubio responds by passing the ball to a player in a less threatening position, and the team suffers as a result.
The Wolves are entering a rebuilding stage. No one knows with certainty how long they will remain in a rebuild, and being tied down to a max contract while the team contends for lottery picks instead of championships just doesn’t make sense.
Also, the Wolves have just received an influx of young, high potential rookies. These are the rookies that everyone thinks can turn into elite, legitimate max-contract players.
Committing to Rubio long term now could hamper the flexibility the Wolves have in the future. And that decision will come back to haunt them if they want to keep all of Zach LaVine, Gorgui Dieng, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins.
But have no fear, for I have two potential solutions.
Solution one is letting Rubio enter restricted free agency. We saw this tactic used recently with the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe was unable to find a willing suitor, and ended up returning to the Suns. There is the risk that Rubio might just sign a one-year qualifying offer, just to enter unrestricted free agency the year after, but it does give the Wolves a better understanding of the market for Rubio.
The second solution is becoming somewhat of a recent trend. Teams are offering players more money per year, but for a shorter contract length.
This provides a win-win scenario for both parties: the player gets paid an amount he is happy with, while the team maintains flexibility and is given time to better evaluate the player’s ability.
Offering Rubio a max deal for three years could be a smart option here, especially if they are unsure if Rubio can continue to improve. It maintains flexibility and gives them cap space for when the rookies are due for their next contract.