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Rubio absent as Timberwolves introduce new draft picks


Posted Jun 28 2009 7:44PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Hours after flashy first-round pick Ricky Rubio skipped an introductory news conference with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the franchise's new front man issued an open letter to fans and critics who are worried the team goofed by drafting two point guards.

Timberwolves president David Kahn told jittery supporters he believes Rubio, the fifth overall pick, and Jonny Flynn, the sixth pick, will play off of each other extremely well and "together, we will have one of the most dynamic defensive backcourts in the NBA over time."

Kahn also wrote that he chose Rubio with the fifth pick, and not the sixth, to give the 18-year-old Spaniard a little extra money to help with a $6.6 million buyout from Joventut Badalona in Spain.

The Timberwolves talked with several teams above them on draft day to try and move up and select Rubio even higher, which would have brought more money to help pay Joventut, but "the price was too steep," Kahn said.

There is no intention, as of now, to trade either Rubio or Flynn, but Kahn has already received several phone calls about their availability.

If Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, cannot negotiate a more favorable buyout with Joventut, the Timberwolves will simply wait.

"I told the agent we would be willing to wait if it made it easier for them," Kahn said at the news conference, attended by Flynn and Wayne Ellington, the team's other first-round pick. "We want to be supportive and helpful on that front because I do believe the contractual issue is a little thorny.

"To the extent that if it means we have to wait a year, we wait a year. If it means two years, two years. He's 18. If we had to wait, God forbid, two years, he'd be 20 when he got here. That's pretty young."

But the courting already has begun.

In his letter, Kahn wrote that Rubio "will be our starting point guard here the moment he walks through our front door. We may have to wait a year, or even two, but he is worth the wait. We must be patient. This is a big step for he and his family."

As for Rubio's no-show at the press conference? Kahn was sympathetic.

"We will put no pressure whatsoever on Ricky or his family or his agent during this process," Kahn said. "Again, it's something that starts with a threshold issue. It's a contractual issue that he will have to resolve. To the extent that we can be helpful, I said we will. We won't be banging our fists on the table or saying things that are intended to make things more difficult."

The irrepressible Flynn will be more than happy to handle the point guard duties full-time until Rubio arrives. A natural leader, the Syracuse guard has no doubt he can play with Rubio.

"I think we can really do this," Flynn said. "To be able to have two good decision-makers out there who can facilitate from anywhere on the court, that's just lethal. I'd love to get him here and really try to work this thing out."

The Timberwolves took Flynn over the more highly touted shooter, Stephen Curry, another point guard. Kahn said he envisions Flynn as one day becoming one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the league along with having the ability to play off the ball with Rubio.

"We love Jonny Flynn," Kahn said. "It's as simple as that. We love Jonny Flynn."

The Timberwolves also grabbed shooting guard Ellington out of North Carolina with the 28th pick to give the team some perimeter shooting it sorely lacks.

"I think the organization needs to be very patient and communicate that message externally that while we will ask for patience," Kahn said. "We will also tell people that we think though down the road, these kids will prove to be special."

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