Ricky Rubio is the latest NBA player to turn his nose up at a huge contract offer from his team. The Minnesota Timberwolves tried to sign him to an extension that totaled $43 million over four years, yet they were denied. His agent Dan Fegan apparently believes that this is an insulting offer for the young point guard.
Rubio is simply out of his mind because he, quite frankly, isn’t that valuable to the Timberwolves as he doesn’t provide much offense or defense. Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks earns $8 million a year and provides more scoring offensively and garnishes a higher player efficiency rating than Rubio. He would be earning over $2 million more than Teague if he were to re-sign with Minnesota which realistically would be a huge win for him, but he feels he deserves more.
In a very similar situation, the Phoenix Suns are stuck in limbo with starting point guard Eric Bledsoe. They have offered him a very respectable four year contract totaling $48 million, but Bledsoe’s camp has denied the offer. He and his agents are supposedly seeking the max five year, $80 Million contract which is truly ludicrous for a player at this stage in their career. Bledsoe has been injury prone throughout his professional basketball career, so this type of contracct is obviously extremely scary for teams. Also, let’s just be blunt about it; Bledsoe hasn’t done much in his career so far. Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers has made two All-star appearances in his early NBA career and is playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, and is set to make under $6 million this coming season. Does Bledsoe deserve more than Irving? Absolutely not, therefore the Suns are smart to hold firm to their very generous offer.
Players are coming into the league with a skewed view financially, for they are surrounded by stars that garnish big wages. Most of those guys have paid their dues and earned those high dollar pay checks. Younger players like Rubio and Bledsoe now feel like they are entitled to a max contract simply because they are on the starting roster. Yes, they both are good players respectively, but are they great? Not yet. Only great players should earn the contracts that they were offered by their teams, so they should consider themselves blessed and take the deal. The ridiculous contracts that they wish to receive are reserved for exceptional athletes. Rubio and Bledsoe are not even close to exceptional.
There aren’t any teams that have stepped up to offer a huge contract to the likes of Bledsoe or even Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons. The culture of the league when it comes to lucrative contracts needs to be altered, and teams are finally standing up and saying collectively that, “no, you aren’t worth that and you aren’t going to be paid that amount by us or any other team.” Players need to work for respect and then one day they will EARN a huge contract and not just be given a contract because then they will actually be deserving of one.