Well, the deadline for signing Ricky Rubio for next season under the rookie wage scale has come and gone. And, as usual in this long, baroque saga, all we have to show for it are supposition, innuendo and uncertainty. At issue are the same old things: 1) the new CBA, under which Rubio would almost certainly make less money than he would under the current rookie scale; 2) the lockout which, if Rubio signed with the Wolves this summer, could keep him from playing any basketball at all next year–and right now, what Ricky most deeply needs and wants is to play basketball; 3) the fact that Rubio may just not want to play for this weirdly managed, perennially terrible cold-weather team.
Happily for the Wolves, it seems that this latter issue is less decisive than had been reported at the time of the draft. What this whole adventure does cast into relief, however, is just how much David Kahn and the Wolves have invested in the young prodigy. Back in 2009, Rubio was a fount of possibility, a player so young and with such preternatural skill and awareness that he seemed able to bear endless quantities of hope. In many ways, that hope has sustained Kahn through the strange decisions and seeming aimlessness of the two years that have followed.
But now that Rubio’s star has dimmed and the realities of collective bargaining have presented themselves Kahn is faced with a harsh reality. Two years, two drafts and three lottery picks have gone by since Kahn took control; the Wolves have acquired exactly zero impact players in that time. Rubio is still a reservoir of hope, but that hope seems more brittle all the time.