Ricky Rubio is under contract until the end of next season, when he becomes a restricted free agent. This means opposing teams can make offers to Rubio, but the Minnesota Timberwolves will have the right to match any offer. It also means, that if the Wolves want to keep him, they’ll likely try to extend him before next season begins. When the Wolves had the option of giving Kevin Love a five-year, max-level deal, but instead gave him a four-year deal, it was thought that the Wolves were saving their max contract for Rubio. But now that Rubio’s first contract is soon expiring, does he deserve a max contract? His assist and steal numbers are elite, but his failure to score and lead his team to victories means he shouldn’t get the max.
Washington Wizards point guard John Wall got a max contract this offseason. Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook are also signed to max contracts. Rubio is simply not in their league. While his skills are valuable, he is not a superstar capable of leading his team to the championship or even the playoffs. A contract of between $8-10 million per year is more suited to Rubio’s skills and the Timberwolves’ payroll.
There is a glut of skilled point guards in the NBA right now, and this offseason saw guys like Jose Calderon, Brandon Jennings and Jeff Teague sign for less than they expected. Rubio has a unique skillset, though, and even though he may not be worth a max deal, the Wolves should do their very best to re-sign him.
If Rubio receives an exorbitant offer from another team during his restricted free agency, it will be a tough decision for the Timberwolves. That decision would likely make the Wolves decide on the future of their team, and Rubio and the Timberwolves’ performance this year will make a big impact on his contract. If the Timberwolves fail to make the playoffs, it will be hard to find reasons to keep this core together.