Ricky Rubio Meets With Oklahoma City Thunder
By Ryan Feldman
Saturday, June 20, 2009
According to sources, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who currently own the No. 3 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, met with Ricky Rubio on Saturday in Los Angeles to discuss Rubio's buyout situation and their interest in the Spanish point guard, among other things.
The Thunder reportedly had a positive meeting with him and it seems at this point that they are leaning towards drafting Rubio. Whether or not they will keep Rubio is still up in the air, but at this point there is a very strong chance that Rubio will go No. 3 on Thursday.
The Thunder could keep Rubio and team him up with fellow young point guard Russell Westbrook. The Thunder are worried about this scenario because neither player is a particularly good shooter. Both are pass-first point guards. Defensively, they would be okay because both players are around 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 and Westbrook is capable of guarding bigger players.
There is no doubt that the Thunder will continue exploring trade options for Rubio or the No. 3 pick. The Knicks seem the most interested at this point, but the problem is that the Knicks don't have much to offer the Thunder. They want young talent or quality players that will help them now or in the future, not expiring contracts, washed up veterans or mediocre role players.
Apparently, Rubio would be fine with playing in Oklahoma City. There is a strong Spanish population in that area and the team has a young nucleus including Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Rubio said that he wants to play on a young team so that he can have young friends.
Other than the Knicks, the Kings are expected to be involved in trade talks. But the Kings are still trying to figure out who they want if they can't get Rubio. Jonny Flynn, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are all still strongly being considered in Sacramento. If they decide that one of those players will be just as good as Rubio, they may stay put. But chances are that they at least explore trade possibilities with the Thunder and/or the Grizzlies. It won't take too much to move up a spot or two - probably just one player like Jason Thompson or Spencer Hawes, or an additional draft pick or two.
The Rockets have also shown interest in moving up to get Rubio, but the Grizzlies and Thunder likely don't have much interest in Tracy McGrady. The Celtics would like to get into the top five, but they won't trade Rajon Rondo and a young team like the Grizzlies or Thunder probably won't want an aging Ray Allen.
Rubio met with the Kings in Sacramento earlier this week. While the meeting reportedly went well, Rubio came down with an illness while he was in Sacramento and thus had to cancel his workout with the Kings. He left Sacramento and it's unclear whether or not he will have a chance to return and work out for them before Thursday. He still hasn't worked out for any team yet.