Ricky Rubio is coming to America.
The starting point guard for the Timberwolves will arrive in Los Angeles on Monday to begin his normal off-season conditioning program.
In an interview with NBA.com, Rubio admitted he is concerned with reports that All-Star teammate Kevin Love will be traded, or leave via free agency when he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season.
“Yeah,” Rubio said when asked if he planned on talking to Love about the rumors. “I don’t want to convince him if he doesn’t want to stay. But I want him to stay and I’m going to tell him what I think, which is we’ve been improving every year and he’s a great player, he helps us a lot. I think we need to make the next step. … The media says it’s pretty settled, but I don’t know what he thinks. What I’ve been hearing is from the media, not from him, so I don’t trust that. It can be an opinion from you guys. I just really want to talk to him as a teammate.”
If Love leaves the Wolves will almost certainly go back into a dreaded rebuilding mode.
“I like Minnesota. But I want to win too," Rubio said. "Of course when a big guy like him leaves you’re thinking about what’s going to be happening with the team. Are we going to lose a lot? Before I came to Minnesota, the season before they won like 17 games. I was a little scared when I went there. I’m coming from Europe, where I was playing in Barcelona. I think we lost six games or seven games in two seasons and every loss was a disaster. I don’t want to go through a process like every win is something special.
“If he leaves, it’s going to be painful because he’s a main guy. But it depends what we get back for him. We’ll see what we can do. I don’t think going through a rebuild year is going to help us because we’ve been improving every year and now we’re so close to making the playoffs that it doesn’t make sense to rebuild it again. It’s not continuing what we were doing.”
The chances of Love staying in Minnesota seem low. Another NBA.com report last week said that Flip Saunders being named head coach didn't change Love's mind, and Saunders is more likely to pull the trade trigger sooner than later.
According to Pro Basketball Talk, the Wolves' chances of keeping Rubio for the future will also be based on winning.