Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 9:00 am  |  85 responses

Is Ricky Rubio Giving Memphis the Cold Shoulder?

by Marcel Mutoni

The Grizzlies won the second overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and with that right came the widely-held assumption that they’d try and get their hands on Ricky Rubio. There’s just one tiny problem. Ricky is reportedly not interested in moving to Graceland.

According to a report on Draft Express , Rubio and his people might pull a Steve Francis on the Grizz should Memphis draft him:

From what people around the league are saying, Rubio’s camp may already be sending out feelers indicating that he’s not interested in the least bit in playing in Memphis. “Rubio doesn’t want to go to Memphis, and he especially does not want to pay money out of his own pocket with that huge buyout for the honor of doing so. Fegan [Rubio’s agent] wants him in L.A., and if he can’t have him there, he wants him in Sacramento. Definitely not Oklahoma City.”

Unlike Griffin or Hasheem Thabeet, who don’t really have any choice where they will play next season if a team decides to play hardball, Rubio has a reasonably attractive alternative option at his disposal—returning to Spain.

“He’ll pull out if he doesn’t like what he’s hearing,” the NBA source tells us. “Or he can stay in and force the Grizzlies to call his bluff—would they really take him knowing that he may never come over? That’s one way to get him to fall to three.”

The Grizzlies plan on meeting with Ricky to see if they can’t change his mind, otherwise all of these new ticket buyers are gonna be some kind of mad.

Much of the basketball watching public on this continent only knows Ricky Rubio through grainy YouTube footage, and his stellar performance during the Olympics last summer.

I think it’s important to recognize that just because we barely know about him, doesn’t mean he’s not fully aware of how to play the political game to get what he wants in this League.

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  • russl27


    rubio is going to be great, no matter where he goes..

  • Kas

    If you’re in the nba, it doesnt matter where you are, you’re living the dream! geez, he’s spoiled

  • scott

    Memphis doesn’t even deserve an NBA franchise.

  • Hammer

    F’ that punk.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Stay in Spain, douche.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    It’s alright to play one team…. I get not liking a city, Memphis isn’t really the greatest place… and I guess it’s okay to shun off OKC cause it’s sort of boring… but to say it’s “TWO CITIES OR NOTHING” drops my opinion of Rubio quite a lot. I hope this is just Rubio’s agent talking. This would be quite a pity.

  • http://www.twahc.blogspot.com/ twahc

    he better play like gasol or he’s out like any other international players who can’t adjust to the league!

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    I bet Navaro was telling him while on the Olympic team: “IT WAS AWFUL! DON’T PLAY THERE! DOn”T PLAY THERE!”

  • thesubwayconnection

    I’d like to point out that the article clearly says: “Fegan [Rubio’s agent] wants him in L.A., and if he can’t have him there, he wants him in Sacramento. Definitely not Oklahoma City.” Not necessarily Ricky speaking. However, I do hope he ends up somewhere other than Memphis.

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    This is more interesting than the Yi situation, because Ricky actually would have drop substantial coin to get out of his spanish contract.

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com Jeff Fox

    Remember this is all rumours and if it is true it is his agent saying it, not him (yet).

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com Jeff Fox

    And besides, he’s just too cute to be mad at for long!

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    Also, I think it’s high time the NBA realize that if the moniker “Grizzlies”seems fitting for a city’s sports team, that city is probably to bass-akwards to draw talent and financially support a team.

  • neaorin

    If I had to pay over 8 million dollars out of my own pocket to play in Memphis, I’d be turned off too.

  • sab

    it’s this same argument as we had last year – Kas, have you heard of “Europe”?? right, over here we have some nice places, get it? America isn’t the only nice place in the world!! Barcelona vs Memphis… hmm, interesting choice. I know what i’d choose…

  • rav

    “If I had to pay over 8 million dollars out of my own pocket to play in Memphis, I’d be turned off too. ”

    exactly – seeing as he has to pay that kind of money to get out of his contract with joventut i think its only fair that he wields some power with regards to where he plays.

    also, had blake griffin decided to stay in college because he didnt want to play for a joke of a team would people be badmouthing him as much??

  • Coach Master

    If players are able to dictate the cities they will or will not play for, why even have a draft? Everyone understand that the draft is intended to create parity, to give losing teams a leg up on eventually becoming a winning team. If players are allowed to decide the team they are drafted by, throw the draft out and just make all the players free agents.

  • neaorin

    Kobe and Easy Yi are with you on that one, Coach.

  • http://dubbledubble.blogspot.com/ BdubbleU

    I can understand wanting to play in L.A. rather than Memphis or Oklahoma, but why the hell would he want to play in Sacramento. Place got nothing going on there.

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    Somewhere (most likely by his pool in houston) Steve Francis is smiling. And eating.

  • AlbertBarr

    @BdubbleU: Rubio wouldnt mind Sacramento because they have a good reputation for dealing with international players and the Maloofs actually want to spend the money for a winning team and have proven they can build a contender with the right pieces. And Sacramento aint all that bad by the way…Sunny, Green, Close to S.F. and Portland, lots of money flowin through the place. Maybe Rubio knows that he can open a successful restaurant there…

  • Michael

    shift the grizz to vegas and be done with it

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    His agent sure sounds like a douche. C’mon man, KD is playing in OKC and not saying a word and he’s a billion times the player.

  • Lz – Cphfinest 3

    Although this comes of as spoilt, I for one understand that paying 8 mill for playing a place you don’t wanna be, and switching Barcelona (one of the worlds greatest cities) for Memphis or Oklahoma, is not exactly the greatest option.

  • Tavoris

    wow…I think I like Rubio more now…

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    Memphis is awesome. Y’all are haters.

  • Bend3r

    KD didn’t have to pay 8.2 M$ to play in OKC, that’s the main problem, if there wasn’t any buyout Ricky would go to Memphis. Fegan said that he would join the NBA if he lose less than 2M$. If they can guarantee some kind of sponsorship to pay a significant part of his buyout there is no problem, otherwise…

    Besides, Memphis owners seem more interested in selling the franchise than in building a team, that’s another odd for a guy who HAS TO PAY to play. This is not Yi’s situation, it’s much more complicated.

  • Groves mind freeze

    I think wo new franchises are needed. Seattle and Las Vegas. Hell even Kansas City and St Louis Should give it a go.

    Rubio is a star. Should Play for Miami (they need a pg)

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Young Chris MP3

    He should pull a Steve Francis and get drafted then refuse to play until they trade him. Show these dumb Americans that Europeans have a little attitude… lol

  • Enigmatic

    Whats wrong with Memphis? With Gay, Mayo and Rubio running the break it would be Phoenix 2010. As for the town itself if it’s good enough for my man D Rose it’s good enough for everyone!

  • Flash

    rubio is a spoiled brat, he has a big ego for saying that. that b**ch should be greatful that the nba wants him

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Izzo

    He should definitely be killed for this.

  • Enigmatic

    Wonder how Rubio’s Spanish homie Marc Gasol feels about all this. Honestly I can understand L.A., but Sacramento? Sure, they got a great history with foreign players, blah blah blah. But you gotta think this is all money-motivated. His agent must want him in a bigger market with a better chance for better endorsement contracts. So please, explain why Sacramento? Is he trying to be the new spokesperson for Sacramento BootBarn?

  • james

    what a douche

  • doyouwantmore

    I love how Rubio’s “a douche” because he doesn’t want to give up millions to play in the middle of nowwhere surrounded by grain silos or some ish. I hope he gets to Sacramento somehow.

  • doyouwantmore

    I love how Rubio’s “a douche” because he doesn’t want to give up millions to play in the middle of nowwhere surrounded by grain silos or some ish. I hope he gets to Sacramento somehow.

  • Jacob

    what a douche, it shouldnt matter who drafts you, you should be happy to be playing in the nba

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    No matter how you look at this, going public with not wanting to be drafted by a team is a douche-like move. Buy outs will always be a problem because they don’t trade people in Europe they transfer them from a fee. Technically, getting drafted is no different than moving to another top euro team. I don’t know why the NBA club can’t be the one paying up, though.

  • Dubya

    yes! send the grizz to KC! Bring Arthur back! And I love Gays explosiveness and OJs creativity and Kobe-esque moves. With Rubio in KC with Gasol we’d actually get behind this team just look at the Roayls this year! And the Chiefs when we were decent. Give us one more shot. We have a nice downtown area now with a beautiful stadium.

  • niQ

    with the current memphis team, adding rubio makes the most sense. rubio is a douche if he doesn’t want to be in the nba just cause he can’t play where he wants.

  • Feng

    Sacramento ftw please

  • Yassi

    Thats what I was trying to tell you all along…… ;-)

    Anyhow…..Barcelona/Badalona or Memphis? Thats a no contest……….there are not to many cities in the world on one level with Barcelona….and I´m not even from Spain ;-)

  • breeze

    im with rubio if i have to pay to pay ..i should have a choice where i want to reside..ya have to under stand that euro players have to pay so the draft selection really shouldnt go for them….

  • Yassi

    Really no news here. He said this and all papers had this in the news for months for anybody who went there and listened to the people (`course you had to have your spanish brushed up) and the media the entire set up now should be absolutely no surprise whatsoever. I gave you the first hand reports right here ;-) I really cant understand what the big buzz is all about now……das war doch klar wie Kloßbrühe! ;-)

  • Yassi

    Sorry, fooling around with the obvious choices of better places to live……I forgot one thing – the one and only thing really: this actually is not about the cities, its about playing excellent basketball in a great environment with a good team, great management and a high aim that involes Ricky as a centerpiece. I think some people do point in the wrong direction with the comments made by his agent…..;-)

  • bike

    What makes this d*%@head think that he will spend his entire NBA career in sunny CA? This has to be one of the weakest drafts in history if they are hyping up a kid that has never played the American game. I say don’t draft him period…buy American.

  • joseroberto

    can’t they get Marc Gasol to butter him up? All he needs is a good beard scrubbing and bear hug and that should do the trick

  • stryfee

    the grizz should move back to vancouver or…. winnipeg! they can be the new winnipeg jets.. lol

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    Personally, I hope someone else buys the Memphis franchise that is more interested in winning than saving money. You can’t really blame anyone for not wanting to go there right now under their current ownership.

  • self proclaimed kobe nut hugger

    Seems like a lot of you guys have no idea how great life can be in certain spots in Europe (even if you’re not a white celeb). I’ve been living in Europe for a while now, been to Spain a few times and it’s pretty amazing (the girls in Barcelona and in the south are unbelivable, and virtually no obesity). The lifestyle with the siesta and the beaches is great. News Flash: I know it’s hard for some of you to comprehend but the rest of the world is not as enamoured with the USA as you seem to think, for a lot of people the States amounts to NYC, LA and Miami. You guys (some of you anyways) seem to think he should just be gratefull to be anywhere in the states at all. A lot of ball players over here don’t even follow NBA, a lot of others don’t like the style of play. Since coming to Europe I’ve been forced to follow NBA online cause forget about getting reg season games on TV.

    I’m curious, anyone remember Kenny Anderson playing for Toronto, probably not, cause he didn’t. What about Alonzo? Franchise? I hope you guys said the same about them at the time.

  • http://phoenixsunsrising.blogspot.com Hersey

    Grizzlies should be relegated

  • Joker

    Just got word that he’s coming to Orlando to back up Jameer next season.

  • CDef28

    Another classic example of why I hate foreign players. More often than not they end up accomplishing nothing in the L. Rubio should go back to his hole. The guy is not even a rookie yet and he’s already picking and choosing. The Grizzlies aren’t in Canada anymore, but I guess that’s not good enough for him. Look at OJ Mayo. He’s playing in Memphis and he was much more proven coming to the NBA than this guy.

  • Josh

    Up yours, all you unpatriot a-holes to bad mouth a U.S. city such as Memphis, for the sake of cowardly Spain & some young buster who has not gone through all the battles of young college youth. The objective should be to come to the NBA with the opportunity to win. This young 6’3 180lb is to good to play along-side Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, & even M.Gasol(Spain). Well let him carry his candy-@ss on…. I’d rather have B Jennings anyway…if I’m the Grizz.

  • Miguel Ferreira

    I think most people who commented here are just afraid a euro player might actually be THAT good, and only 18, nd u knw y this happens? because people close their minds to other ideas, let the kid live plus at least he knows what he’s doin he has played pro ball, he’ll show everyone hw to pay defense in the NBA

  • Quail

    i wouldnt care if the 15-67 heat from last year drafted me. as long as i get to play ball and get paid.

  • Yassi

    ….if the Heat drafted him, he would probably go…..

  • Tim Dennis

    The Kid is just looking out for his best interest!
    He would make more money in NY/L.A and he will need it with that huge 8mill Buyout that the team can only contribute a small amount too
    I think he is a great player and would help the nba’s global reach more but if memphis get him 2nd he will be pretty broke

  • Zabba

    “nd his stellar performance during the Olympics last summer.” I didn’t see all his games during the Olympics so I could be wrong, but Rubio was not “stellar” during the playoffs. What he was was an over-achieving, young teenager. He’s stellar when he’s playing against chumps in his age bracket, but right now he’s getting way too over-hyped.

  • ab_40

    he can make far more money then his rookie contract excluding the buy out so I get it we’ve seen it with tiago spitter (spurs) and fran vasquez(magic) that these guys if they don’t like what they see or have a screwed in the head girlfriend like vasquez they’re not goint to the other continent to sit on a bench

  • james

    realistically memphis will probably pay a large percentage of his buyout anyway. guys just a dick, he should say hell only play for the lakers or something while hes at it, might as well go the full nine yards

  • swifthammer

    As a grizz fan i wanted him to put some butts in the seats, but if doesnt wanna be in Memphis oh well. Memphis is the truth, I love when people make comments on cities they have never spend anytime in.

  • rav

    “Look at OJ Mayo. He’s playing in Memphis and he was much more proven coming to the NBA than this guy.” how does one year at USC and high school ball compare to someone who has been a pro since he was 14 (and played in euroleague games and in atmosphere’s that are far, far more intimidating and intense than anything in the US) and played in an olympics and reached the final!! lol some people on here crack me up – and as someone else said earlier no-one in the states gave guys like kenny anderson, alonzo mourning and other guys who refused to show up in toronto this level of stick

  • http://www.myspace.com/weezyleezy337 weezy f. leezy

    i hopes memphis drafts him now…screw ricky rubio…jason kidd had way more game comin out then this kid. he aint even jason williams. not beleivin the hype..not yet.

  • CDef28

    Rav, um I’m sorry, but when Kobe says that OJ is the best player in the draft from last year, you listen. Has anyone even seen Rubio play? The game notes from last year from the game when he played Jennings made it sound like he couldn’t shoot and he was foul-prone.

  • CDef28

    And rav, Darko played from a young age. How did that work out?

  • http://phoenixsunsrising.blogspot.com/ Hersey

    Teams can only contribute 500k to a buyout. Rubio has to pay the rest out of pocket, thus the need for endorsements and the need to be in a big market. The Grizzlies have been unable to build a fanbase in two cities. I can fully understand not wanting to play there.

  • era

    he has to pay an 8m buyout, wich means, he is playing about 2 years FOR FREE! And so he wants to go to a place where he is somehow able to make up for that. Option A: big market. Option B: a team that has a management capable of putting together a playoff team. Option C: Memphis! Hmmmm I wonder….

  • lawlow

    why would they pick him #2 anyways? rubio is all hype

  • bulletsforever

    slip to 5 ricky…DC wants you

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Even Eazy Yi played ONE season in Milwaukee… I mean, besides Latrell Sprewell, who else is there to hang out with over there?
    Now this punk Rubio is complaining about going to OKC?! Yo, he’d be an idiot to not want to play with Westbrook, Durant, and Green. Wait…

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    I will laugh when this azzhole come to the NBA and disappoints just like 90% of the Euros in history. NBA >>>>>>>> Euroleague.

  • Coney Islander

    Why are we talking about this guy again?

  • Cyrus The Virus

    Smart move by Rubio. Kobe refused to sign with anyone other than the Lakers when he came out, which is why he slipped to #13 and traded for Vlade Divac.

    Rubio must be picked in the top 3 – just like Pau Gasol – so that he can afford to buy himself out. He otherwise will have to play wait longer to make the move to the NBA.

    He is currently making less than $300,000 annually and he stands to actually lose money if he has to buy himself out of his contract… he should only do this if he – and his parents – feel right about the situation… he is a teenager still and this is a huge decision.

    Memphis should leverage the pick if they can, he should be able to bring some value back… I like a trade with Miami for Michael Beasley as an option.

  • morsvolta

    spoiled ass kid

  • http://Pnpfamilyplaycenter.com Wanu

    This is just bullsh*t to make this piss poor draft more interesting…

  • The Promise

    Dont matter.. John Wall would smoke him any day of the week.

  • Cyrus the Papyrus

    Is anyone else in the draft paying $8million to play in the NBA?

  • Quail

    i’d like to see Jennings go at 3 and Rubio go at 4. Sacramento was one of Ricky’s choices anyways. and Jennings isnt a spoiled brat, so he would take OKC.

  • Yassi

    @Cyrus: correct. And he is only making 300.000$ a year because the spanish club more than doubled his income voluntarily but only out of fear that legal actions by the league would be coming soon. He was only making about 100.000 a year which is hugely disproportional considering he has this 8 million buyout clause in the cobntract. Not that the proportions got that much better, but they figured better do something than nothing to make it looking better.
    Anyhow Rickys team got eliminated from the playoffs last saturday and by the way he was carrying himself a jump to the league seems a little more likely. He had a terrible game, looked distracted, helpless and sad. At the end of the game the away (!!!) fans gave standing ovations and were shouting “Ricky, Ricky” saying their goodbyes and paying tribute while he was crying and tortured by the media about this being his last game for “La Penya”. One lady of this one TV channel even made a cut throat motion with her hand whilest asking that. Its all blown out of proportion by a million miles. poor kid.
    Anyhow I dont remember who did the piece on Jennings and Rubio in the euroleague: “Forza Penya” is not abvout any club being strong but means “Go Badalona” (his club) ;-)

  • Yassi

    btw, question: why is Kobe literally chosing the club where he wants to play no problem at all and Ricky Rubios agent saying that he does not want him in this or that city a huge thing for all you guys? I dont get it………..

  • Ulme

    Rubio probably is spoiled. He grew up in a system where he could go anywhere at any price in Europe. There is neither draf nor salary cap in Europe. If a club has enough money, they could get Kobe, Dwayne, LeBron etc. to play on the same team. They do it in Soccer and I don’t like that . Maybe that’s what he’s used to.
    But that’s why I love the American Draft system. It leverls the playing field.
    At the moment the soccer “draft” system over here works like this: You find a 12 year-old gifted boy no matter what country he’s from and pay him and his family to go to your club’s youth program.
    I’ll wait till after the draft before I condemn him. He might mature till then.

  • Rodney Dodge

    If you’ve ever been to Barcelona, you would clearly understand why a person in their right mind wouldn’t want to move from their to Memphis or OKC for goodness sakes! Coupled with the fact that he has to pay a bank load just for the priviledge of paying there?! He should use all his leverage to get what he wants.

    Frankly, with the rookie salary cap in place, I’m surprised more late first round and second round American projections don’t just skip “the college experience” and just go directly to Europe and get PAID. The colleges are just trying to exploit them for money anyway. Turn the tables and head overseas for an amazing enriching European experience. If you’re bored and alone, pay a buddy say $50,000 to come hang out with you for the 5 month season. These players need to get a little creative – time is not on their side.

  • dhowardmagic

    Simple solution: Sacto trades their #4 pick, 2nd round pick, and Bobby Jackson to the Grizz for the #2 pick and draft Rubio. Everyone’s happy right?

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    I don’t think the problem is that Americans don’t realize how nice Barcelona is versus Memphis; it’s that too many sheltered NBA fans aren’t following the progression of international basketball.
    Think of it this way. If you wanted to change from your current job to a better one, but your only option is to pay 3-4 TIMES your annual salary out of your own pocket to move to Massillon, Ohio, and assuming everyone in
    your current city worshiped you, do you think you’d be psyched to go?