Ricky Rubio and Wolves owner Glen Taylor had several phone conversations in the past week, and each has expressed intention to get a deal done on a rookie scale extension, reports Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Any such pact is expected to be for four years, Walters writes, which suggests that a five-year deal that would make Rubio the team’s Designated Player is unlikely. Agent Dan Fegan has reportedly asked for a five-year max deal, but the Wolves are willing to wait until next summer, when Rubio would be a restricted free agent, if his camp won’t accept four years, according to Walters. The sides have until October 31st to ink an extension.
The Wolves didn’t have serious interest in Eric Bledsoe, Walters also hears, which conflicts with rumors from earlier this month suggesting that the team made a max offer to the Suns point guard while he lingered in restricted free agency. The necessity for a deal with Bledsoe to take place as part of a sign-and-trade made it too complicated for the Wolves to pursue, as Walters writes, adding that Bledsoe nonetheless had interest in Minnesota depending on what happened with Rubio.
Walters says an extension for Rubio “could” be worth $11MM annually, which would line up with the figures the team is seeking in such a deal. The Wolves nonetheless have the capacity, if not the willingness, to go much higher than that in a four-year offer, with salaries likely starting at around $15MM, though the precise maximum won’t be set until next July.
It’s debatable whether Rubio is worth max money, as Charlie Adams of Hoops Rumors wrote when he examined Rubio as an extension candidate earlier in the offseason, but perhaps the ultimate stumbling block will come down to the length of the deal, just as it did with Kevin Love. Former Wolves GM David Kahn balked at a five-year deal for Love in 2012 so that the team could go to that length with Rubio. However, it’s conceivable that current president of basketball operations Flip Saunders wants to reserve the Designated Player bullet for the newly acquired Andrew Wiggins, who’ll become extension-eligible three years from now. If the Wolves signed Rubio to a five-year extension, they couldn’t do so with anyone else they have on a rookie scale contract until Rubio’s would-be extension expired, or until they traded Rubio.