Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio is still recovering from a pretty brutal offseason, one that saw him lose a cherished teammate in Kevin Love, and suffered a crushing defeat of his native Spain in the FIBA Basketball World Cup quarter-finals.
“We had a pretty good, pretty amazing first season together,” Rubio said (about playing with Kevin Love.) “But then we were unlucky, had a lot of injuries, and that cut the rhythm, the momentum, that we had started with together. If nobody got hurt, we could’ve made it to the playoffs and maybe have gone farther together. But the injuries started, and kept going, and we never could keep what we had.”
“If he wanted to leave, there’s no reason to talk to him about it,” Rubio said. “I really liked playing with him, but I’ll play with the players who want to be there. Kevin wants to win. That’s normal. He’s been there six years without the playoffs. I understand. If I was in the same situation – being one of the best players in the league – and not being able to be in the playoffs, I’d have a lot of frustration, too.
So Minnesota president and coach Flip Saunders has to make a decision on his willingness to extend Rubio’s rookie contract with a deal that corresponds with a belief the T’wolves see him as franchise cornerstone. Saunders has had discussions with Rubio’s agent Dan Fegan and they’ll talk more between now and the Oct. 31 deadline. Without an extension, Rubio can be a restricted free agent next summer. […] “I’m loyal,” Rubio said. “I want to give them back what they gave me there: a lot of love.”