Now that his third NBA season is completed, Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio headed Thursday into his summer, an offseason that began road tripping with friends to Lawrence, Kan., of all places, and later will include training time split between Spain and Minneapolis as well as a Spanish national team obligation to play in the FIBA World Cup at home in August and September.
It also will include his first real taste of NBA contract negotiations.
Rubio’s representatives and Flip Saunders, the Wolves president of basketball operations, can begin July 1 discussions on a contract extension of the rookie deal he signed in May 2011.
The two sides have until the end of October to reach an agreement, otherwise Rubio will play next season under his current contract and become a restricted free agent in July 2015. That’s the same time teammate Kevin Love will opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
Expect Rubio’s side to push for a contract closer to a maximum salary than the four-year, $44 million extension Golden State’s Stephen Curry received, which the Wolves just might view as beyond their limits.
“No, it’s something I’m not worried about,” Rubio said Wednesday. “It’s something my agent is going to talk with Flip. It’s something I don’t have to be worried. I just worry about playing. I just want to have it being on a team that’s winning and I think this team is growing up and we can do it and I want to play in a playoff, you know?”
Waiting on Adelman
Thursday came and went without official word that Wolves coach Rick Adelman will retire after 23 NBA seasons.
Both Rubio and Love spoke of Adelman after Wednesday’s game as if they have played their last game for him.
“It has been unbelievable,” Love said. “He has a great family. He’s a tremendous human being. I just feel bad we haven’t been able to take him as far as some other teams he has coached.”
Adelman and the Wolves each have the option to void the final season next year on a four-year contract he signed in September 2011, if either side does it within two weeks of this season’s end. There’s a provision in Adelman’s contract for him to remain on in a consultant’s role if he so chooses.
“I learn a lot,” Rubio said about playing for Adelman. “Every game, every practice was a clinic. You learn a lot from a guy who has been in the top of the league, the top 10 coaches.”
Exit strategy gone over
Wolves players had their exit interviews with Saunders and General Manager Milt Newton on Thursday in which they discussed the season just completed and summer’s training routines.
“It’s hard to say it right now,” Rubio said after Wednesday’s game on what the team needs to address this summer. “We’re focused on the season and we just ended and now it’s time to see why this season didn’t go as we wanted. It’s something we need to talk [about]. Everybody has to improve. Everybody has to do an extra step and just be better.”
Nobody probably was happier with Wednesday’s news that the Milwaukee Bucks have been sold for $550 million and will remain in Wisconsin than Saunders.
That’s because he bought a part of the Wolves when he returned to the organization last May. According to a league source, Saunders will own 6 percent of the team by the time the five-year contract he signed expires.
If the Bucks’ sale sets market value for an NBA franchise, then Saunders’ portion at that price would be worth about $33 million.