The Timberwolves claim that the ever-elusive Rubio is asking them about what kind of effect next season’s potential (likely?) lockout would have on his NBA career. From the Pioneer Press: “Ricky Rubio would prefer to know if there will be a lockout before committing to joining the Timberwolves for next season. The NBA’s labor agreement expires June 30. The Timberwolves would prefer to know before the draft whether the 20-year-old point guard, their top pick from 2009, will buy out his contract in Spain. The draft is June 23. ‘That is the question,’ Wolves owner Glen Taylor said Monday. ‘He’s asking how that (lockout) might affect him, if we don’t play or if we will play. And our answer is, ‘We won’t know the answer to that question. You’re going to have to make your decision before that. We (NBA owners) are negotiating with the players right now. We’re hopeful we’ll play. But I don’t want to guarantee him that because there’s no way that I know that.’ It would cost almost $1 million for Rubio to buy out his FC Barcelona contract. NBA rules prohibit a team from spending more than $500,000 toward a contract buyout. The Wolves are expected to contribute the limit. ‘It’s up to him to either pay them or finance it or whatever he can do,’ Taylor said of the remainder of the buyout. ‘He has given us indications that he’s very interested. But until he signs, I’m really hesitant to say anything. But he’s met with our guys, and it’s been very positive. He’s asked the right questions.’ Taylor said his basketball people tell him Rubio is a ‘very gifted kid who has a lot of basketball knowledge but probably has to work on his shooting and defense. That’s what they say. But they say that about every kid, I guess.’”