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Rumor: Timberwolves would do four-years, $42 million for Ricky Rubio, agent eyes more

Ricky Rubio

Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio of Spain is shown in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


What is Ricky Rubio worth on the open market?

It’s not a simple answer, there are a lot of variables at play as his agent and the Timberwolves talk between now and Oct. 31 (if there is no deal he becomes a restricted free agent next summer). First, the point guard market is crowded right now and a lot of guys could be available next summer — Rajon Rondo, Eric Bledsoe, Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley, and Kemba Walker are up, plus someone like Monta Ellis could opt-out and become a free agent (among others). The team system matters — if you play uptempo Rubio has more value than with a system team like the Spurs. Rubio brings good defense and court vision, but how will his shooting develop and progress this year?

Minnesota has a number in mind to keep him, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN1500 in Minneapolis. Shockingly, Rubio’s agent doesn’t like it.

I think that number is about right for Rubio. The Wolves GM said he is optimistic about reaching a deal but they are not going to rush into a deal. I don’t see one happening.

That has a lot to do with the market — ask Bledsoe and his agent Rich Paul about the demand for point guards right now. And a healthy Bledsoe is a much better get than Rubio right now. If teams are offering Bledsoe about $12 million a year and someone like Ty Lawson is making that same sum, Rubio should make a little less. That is true whether or not the salary cap jumps in the next couple years (in theory making a bad contract “less bad”).

Rubio’s critics are a little harsh on him — his shooting range needs work but what he really needs to do is finish better (40 percent of his shots last season were within the restricted area but he hit just 49.1 percent of those). But players want to play with him because of his vision and ability — he’s fun to play with and the guys look good with the shots he gets them. Plus he’s solid defender.

A salary in the $10 million a year range seems about right.

Will the Lakers or Knicks overpay for him next summer? Rubio is not a good triangle fit, and it’s hard to say what the Lakers style will be but they are looking to pay superstars. Rubio is not that.

A number of point guards could find out next summer that the market is not what they think it is for their services.