Nearly two years after the Timberwolves drafted him, Ricky Rubio is headed for Minnesota.

After the Spanish league finals end, that is.

You can expect Rubio to be introduced at a big Target Center to-do, probably outfitted with all kinds of corporate logos welcoming the international teen sensation (OK, he's 20, but you get the idea) to town.

Rubio signed a contract that begins this next season and and he did so before Tuesday's deadline to agree under the current labor agreement passed.

That means he'll play for the Wolves next fall, provided the season begins then.

So what else does it mean?


* Expect that big introductory news conference to be the prelude to the June 23 draft.

Hours after he agreed to play in the NBA, Rubio helped his Regal Barcelona team sweep its Spanish league playoff semifinal series 3-0 and advance to the finals.

The finals' fifth and last possible game is schedule for June 18, which would allow the Wolves to kick off draft week with a big celebration on that Monday or Tuesday.

* Say goodbye to Jonny Flynn.

You can bet he will be traded by draft night to make room exclusively for Rubio.

Possible trading partners: Toronto, Detroit, Sacramento, Phoenix.

* You'd think this makes Rubio the starting point guard come opening night, right?

Not so fast....

No, it's not going to be Luke Ridnour.

But don't assume the Wolves are set by putting the ball in Rubio's hands with Ridnour his veteran backup.

Expect the Wolves to take great steps to make sure Rubio doesn't feel the pressure to be the savior of the franchise.

That means they might try to ease him into the NBA game in a role off the bench.

And that would mean they'd search for a veteran point guard who can mentor and show Rubio the way at first.

Steve Nash would be a perfect choice, but that'd be a tough sell here at the end of his career.

Ridnour isn't that guy.

* As for Kurt Rambis' future...

Could this be one reason David Kahn has waited so long to decide the coach's fate.

My hunch is this further decreases the odds that Rambis will be back, or greatly increases the odds that Rambis must pledge to make big changes with his offense if he does return.

Kahn and the Wolves can't risk that Rubio's game and confidence will get lost in Rambis' triangle-ish offense, as Flynn did.

That's why I'd expect them to hire a point guard-friendly coach, although very doubtfully in time for the fast-approaching draft.

And one last thing....

If you haven't kept up with Rubio in Europe this season as much as you'd have liked and if you get through your cable provider ESPN's broadband ESPN3....there's four games from this season archived on the network's site.

Barcelona vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv              Jan 20

Barcelona vs. Roma                              Feb 3

Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Barcelona              Feb. 24

Panathinaikos vs. Barcelona                  Mar. 29

That is all, for now.