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September 3, 2009

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Rubio dubs NBA move risky

RICKY Rubio preferred to keep playing basketball in Spain because joining the Minnesota Timberwolves was a risky move that would complicate his life.

The 19-year-old point guard was sent from DKV Joventut to FC Barcelona on Tuesday after the Catalan club paid Rubio's 3.5-million euro (US$5 million) buyout clause.

Rubio, the Timberwolves' fifth overall pick in this year's draft, agreed to a six-year deal that included a buyout clause that allows him to leave for the National Basketball Association after two years.

"Going to Minnesota would have just complicated my life a lot. It was a risk and I didn't see it so clearly," Rubio said. "My priority was the NBA and it was impossible for the Minnesota Timberwolves to pay my buyout clause, so I wanted to stay home."

Timberwolves President David Kahn traveled to Spain three times to try to work out a deal and appeared to have secured Rubio's passage to Minnesota less than 48 hours before the player changed his mind, preferring to stay on home soil rather than prepare for life in the NBA.

NBA guidelines limit the amount of money Minnesota could have contributed to Rubio's buyout at US$500,000, although Kahn said a package of endorsement deals and sponsorships had helped make the NBA deal attractive enough for Rubio and Joventut to enter into an agreement last Saturday.

"They could only put half a million into it and I think that the deal with Minnesota had too many obstacles," Rubio said.

The Spaniard said he was still committed to going to the NBA, even though there is no guarantee the starting point guard spot that was his to lose this season will still be around.

"I won't lie," Rubio said. "My objective has always been the NBA."


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